U R BA N I S M ISSUE
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
HELPING THE HIGH STREETS
Chris Wellbelove, Blakedown Landscapes
Do high streets need a green recovery?
A lack of materials is a cause for concern
Is this the future of garden design?
Cover Urban.indd 1
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elcome to a special issue on Urbanism. Arguably, there’s never been a better time to look at our towns and cities. When we could go no further than our local area during lockdown, we all started to consider what our town or city was offering – and for some, it was a distinct lack of green space. Considering the benefits these spaces can have on our mental wellbeing, this is cause for concern. As Danny Crump says in our article on regenerating the high street, people saw any aspect of green space as freedom during lockdown, so without it, this sense of freedom was likely absent. It might have taken a global pandemic to bring it to the public’s attention, but positive changes can be made to tackle this issue – green space is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have in urban environments, and the landscape industry can be at the forefront of ensuring this is put into practice. Take the experts on the High Street Task Force. Those from the landscape sector are putting green space, biodiversity and the environment on an equal footing with retail when we look at how we can
regenerate our high streets and bring people back to their local town centres. We need to ensure the plants we use in these schemes are functional, though, says Noel Kingsbury in his column this month. Our urbanism special isn’t just looking at the public realm, though. We’re also exploring domestic gardens, offering design tips from John Wyer for those small city spaces which can sometimes be the most challenging. Our portfolios can also provide inspiration, with a town garden created by Landscapes 4 Living making the most of limited space. Separate from our Urbanism special, we opened entries for this year’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards last month. We encourage all those reading to either put themselves forward or – if not eligible – to enter a colleague into these awards. It’s a great chance to recognise the achievements of those up-and-coming in the industry, so please do get in touch with us.
GREEN SPACE IS NO LONGER A NICE-TO-HAVE BUT A MUST-HAVE IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS
LIVERPOOL CONNECTIVITY: THE STRAND, VISUALISATION BY BCA LANDSCAPE
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INFORM 08 11 17 23 27 28 30 32 34 37 4
An Industry Shrugged Neil Edwards
News Our monthly roundup of industry news
53 56 60 65 68
News Extra: Helping the High Streets Experts on ‘greening’ our streets Let’s Hear It From Chris Wellbelove, Blakedown Landscapes Inside: BCA Design New rebrand and high aspirations 30 Under 30 Update Rhiannon Williams
Green Waste to the Rescue? Marcus Watson City Connections Laurie Jackson It’s All About Space Andrew Wilson Social Stages Christopher Martin Leeds by Example The city celebrates cleaner air
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
UK Landscape Barometer Industry feedback and statistics for April 2021
74 76 78 79
Creating Waves Natural Dimensions Bountiful Border Lempsink Garden Design Urban Excellence Landscapes 4 Living Designing Urban Gardens John Wyer Landscape Architect’s Journal BCA Landscape Making a Big Impact in a Small Garden Anji Connell Illuminating Designs Ansell Lighting Life/Style Simon Ward The Future of Street Furniture COVID-19’s impact and plans ahead The Popularity of Glasshouses Adding style to a growing trend
J U LY 2 0 2 1 NURTURE 83 86 87 88 90 91 92 93
Feature Garden Whitebeams Urban Jungle Lewis Normand Building Back Greener Nick Coslett Smart Solutions Noel Kingsbury Tree Planting Targets Keith Sacre The Growth of Green Roofs How the UK is getting onboard Two Decades of Soil Cells GreenBlue Urban SuDS, Soils and Substrates Importance of the right soil
E D U C AT E 97 98 99 100 103 104 105 108 111 114
Are You Riding the Wave of Rising Demand? Alison Warner Doing the Job Write Gareth Wilson
Requesting a Reference Jason McKenzie, Oracle Solicitors JULY 2O21
5 Ways to Build Trust in Your Business Nick Ruddle
URBANISM IS SU E
A Gap in the Market Angus Lindsay Hand Tools Discover the latest products Virtual Reality How it’s changing garden design Material Focus Corten Steel Edging Expertise Exploring its myriad possibilities Little Interviews Questions with the individuals who make up our industry
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
HELPING THE HIGH STREETS
Chris Wellbelove, Blakedown Landscapes
Do high streets need a green recovery?
A lack of materials is a cause for concern
Is this the future of garden design?
Cover Urban.indd 1
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Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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CO N T R I B U TO R S Laurie Jackson How can we reconnect people with nature in urban environments? Freelance ecologist Laurie Jackson says it’s in the planning, with better collaboration between ecologists, landscapers and urban communities needed. Laurie suggests opportunities to improve biodiversity, which can be taken advantage of in towns and cities.
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Lighting is not just an add-on – it’s a central feature in any garden design, says Anthony Parkinson of Ansell Lighting. And developments in technology, such as utilising Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, have opened up opportunities for incorporating lighting into a scheme. Anthony shares the top things to consider when doing so.
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Noel Kingsbury The landscape profession has climbed the ladder when it comes to planning our urban environments – it is now an integral part of developments, rather than an afterthought. We need to ensure plants play a key role in this, says Noel Kingsbury, and carefully consider which trees and plants we are using.
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Commercial vehicle manufacturers are reducing their offering, so could there be a gap in the market for suitable alternatives? Angus Lindsay reminisces about models which are no longer being produced or are in short supply, and muses over the latest launches, including electric-powered additions like the ET Lander.
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Pro Landscaper / July 2021
PROJECT GIVING BACK LAUNCHES AT RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
the show requires, we look forward to hearing new organisation has been from you.” announced today that will provide Project Giving Back will fund eight show funding for gardens inspired by UK gardens at RHS Chelsea in 2022 as well as charities and not-for-profit organisations at the a new category, All About Plants. In total, 42 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2022, 2023 and gardens will be funded at the show from 2022 2024. Project Giving Back is the vision until 2024, including another new category of two private individuals who want to offer from 2023. Sue Biggs, RHS director general, a significant springboard to a wide range of says: “We have seen many charities over the charitable causes whose work has suffered years create inspirational gardens at RHS during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Chelsea, sharing incredibly important Project Giving Back will team established messages, and after a very difficult year and emerging designers, landscapers and financially and emotionally for so many, this nurseries with a range of UK charitable project hopes to give many more the amazing organisations to help raise awareness of the opportunity to create their own. I can’t wait to diverse and varied way they support people, see what gardens will be created as part of this plants and the planet. fantastic project over the next three years.” Mark Fane, advisory panel member for www.givingback.org.uk Project Giving Back and CEO of Crocus, says: “I am honoured to have been asked to help establish this groundbreaking support scheme, working alongside experienced industry colleagues. We relish the challenge of supporting a diverse range of charities, designers, landscapers and nurseries over the next three years to help tell the stories of many amazing charities. If your organisation has always dreamed of exhibiting at THE GREENFINGERS CHARITY GARDEN DESIGNED BY Chelsea but has been KATE GOULD AT RHS CHELSEA 2019 ©RHS/NEIL HEPWORTH prevented by the budgets
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
lendale has been appointed to deliver a full-service grounds maintenance service to Heathrow comprising two sub-packages. The first package is for landside which commenced on 1 April 2021. The second package is for work carried out airside and is due to commence on 1 January 2022.
GLENDALE WINS PRESTIGIOUS £3M CONTRACT WITH HEATHROW AIRPORT
The five-year contract, which is valued at nearly £3m, was awarded following a detailed tender process involving some of the industry’s leading landscape and grounds maintenance companies. The tender was awarded following detailed analysis of the quality and capabilities of those businesses pitching for the work and their commitment to reducing carbon emissions, working towards a sustainable future and their commitment to social responsibility initiatives. The works include regular grounds maintenance, including grass cutting, shrub bed maintenance, weed control, hedge maintenance, maintenance of the conservation areas, woodland management, river maintenance, reinstatement work, planting, and the green walls at Terminal 5. The contract also includes any other ad-hoc services that may be necessary to maintain the land across the Heathrow estate. Nick Brooks, regional director, South Thames said: “We are excited to have started a five-year contract working with the UK’s hub airport again. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and one of the world’s top international aviation hubs. From formal lawns to conservation meadows, there is an abundance of brilliant green spaces framing the airport which will soon be enjoyed by air travellers again.” Heathrow covers an area of 1,227ha and has two runways with four terminals (2 to 5). Terminal 1 was closed in 2015 having been open for 47 years. Heathrow serves approximately 84 countries for its 81 million passengers (pre-pandemic figures). www.glendale-services.co.uk
NEW GREEN HEART UNVEILED AS PART OF ONGOING REGENERATION OF LONGBRIDGE
International garden design has always been a source of inspiration for gardens here in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has influenced design trends in an innovative way, and now many trends are situated around the prospect of bringing the indoors outside and creating holiday vibes at home. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ taking-it-international work in and visit the town, and this new public realm is a fantastic example of that. “High-quality green spaces are key to the future success of our town centres. We’re thrilled to have completed this new public space in time for the summer months, and we’re looking forward to seeing visitors exploring and enjoying it.” To date, St. Modwen has overseen the regeneration of around half of the wider Longbridge works which it bought in 2003. Once complete, it is expected to create up to 4,000 new homes, two million square feet of commercial development and 10,000 jobs, transforming Longbridge into a modern, attractive community to live and work. www.longbridgebirmingham.co.uk
GROUND CONTROL NAMED AS ONE OF THE UK’S BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR
Billericay-based company’s achievements have been acknowledged in the Best Companies List, the UK’s most respected annual analysis of workplace engagement. In the three categories entered, Ground Control was ranked fifth in the business services sector; one of the best 100 large companies across the country, with a ranking of 62; and ranked 30th in the East of England. The news comes just weeks after the company won another prestigious corporate recognition – the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, for the second time within five years. Jason Knights, Ground Control’s managing director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have earned a place on a list as one of the UK’s best companies to work. “It’s an achievement that most companies only get to dream of and recognises our
TAKING IT INTERNATIONAL
commitment to ensure both the company and our employees reach their full potential.” Among the initiatives and factors taken into consideration by the judges were: investment in staff training, apprenticeships and career development; the company’s philanthropic practices, including supporting charitable activities by staff members; the company’s journey to achieving carbon neutrality, including the establishment and launch last year of the Evergreen Fund. Jason Knights added: “People are at the centre of everything we do, how we operate as a team and how we live by our core values. “We remain committed to ensuring everyone working at Ground Control has the support, environment, tools and direction to thrive and we will use this recognition to help steer our continued progress well into the future.” www.ground-control.co.uk
BBC RADIO 2’S BIG BEE CHALLENGE: GEORGE HASSALL SHARES BEE-FRIENDLY GARDEN TIPS Zoe Ball has announced BBC Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge, a children’s competition which aims to promote pollination and support bees. We spoke to RHS Young Ambassador and award-winning young gardener, George Hassall, to find out more. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ bbc-radio-2s-big-bee-challenge-georgehassall-shares-bee-friendly-garden-tips ©Jenna Lee/Unsplash
ork has been completed on a new public space in Longbridge, which includes an extension of Austin Park. In total, the works have seen 46 new trees, 3,500 new shrubs and plants, 6,500 new bulbs and several species of wildflowers planted, while new bespoke seating has been designed and installed for up to 80 guests. The scheme has been created to provide a place where people will want to explore and spend time, enhance the quality of the town centre as a whole and provide an attractive space for visitors and residents of Longbridge to enjoy. Improving the landscape will also provide several environmental benefits including creating a healthy green space within the town centre which will improve the environment, air quality and biodiversity, while supporting the wellbeing of the community. Rob Flavell, senior director for regeneration in the Midlands and North for St. Modwen, says: “As we continue the redevelopment of Longbridge town centre, it is vital that we are providing spaces which will bring huge benefits to those who live in,
APPLY NOW – 30 UNDER 30 AWARDS: THE NEXT GENERATION Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30 is back for its seventh year. So far, we have celebrated 180 winners from a variety of sectors within the industry. Why not put forward yourself or a deserving colleague for a chance to be recognised this year? www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ enter-yourself-or-a-colleague-to-the-30under-30-awards-the-next-generation
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
he Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has released its first Sustainability Strategy. It sets out a series of ambitious commitments to rapidly reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint and utilise its trusted voice, alongside its workforce of leading plant scientists and network of global partnerships, to call for the change needed to tackle the environmental emergency. The overarching target is to go beyond ‘net zero’ with Kew committing to becoming ‘climate positive’ by 2030, setting a sciencebased carbon emissions reduction target. This target is one of the commitments outlined in Kew’s new 10-year strategy published in March
or the first time in its 108-year history, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will take place in the autumn and we are delighted to be part of what promises to be a unique event. We are working with Robert Myers on a show garden that was originally intended to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale in 2020 and to celebrate the importance of nursing in the 21st century. The irony that a worldwide pandemic should be the reason a garden celebrating the founder of modern-day nursing was cancelled in 2020 is not lost on us. Having progressed so far with the development of this garden in the last year, we are now delighted to have the opportunity to finally bring it to the Chelsea showground. It’s going to be a very special garden this year. Our sponsor is the Burdett Trust for Nursing and we’ll be creating ‘an imagined courtyard garden for a new hospital’. Robert’s concept has been inspired by Florence Nightingale’s pioneering views on nursing and the garden will feature several cleverly conceived ideas that celebrate her life and work. For instance, a reflecting pool in the garden will reference her insights into drainage and cleanliness, while plants will symbolise both her own pressed flower
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
News Chelsea diary.indd 10
– ‘Our Manifesto for Change’. The organisation – with bases in London, Sussex and Madagascar – will seek to reduce emissions as rapidly as possible, and more-than-offset any unavoidable emissions by investing in nature-based carbon sinks. Director of RBG Kew, Richard Deverell, says: “This new strategy and commitment to be climate positive by 2030 is the culmination of many years of work. Tackling the environmental emergency must sit at the very heart of everything we do and as a global plant science institution and visitor attraction we have a unique responsibility to act now.”
R OYA L B OTA N I C G A R D E N S , K E W C O M M I TS TO B EC O M E C L I M AT E P O S I T I V E BY 2 03 0
As part of this commitment, RBG Kew has now joined the Race to Zero, a UN-backed, global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors, for the necessary shift to a decarbonised economy that would prevent future threats, create decent jobs, and unlock inclusive, sustainable growth. www.kew.org
Chelsea Diary DAN RIDDLESTON, MD, BOWLES & WYER
GARDEN D E TA I L S
Garden The Florence Nightingale Garden Designer Robert Myers Sponsor The Burdett Trust for Nursing
THE FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE GARDEN, RHS CHELSE A 202 1 . DESIGNED BY RO B ERT MY ERS, SPONSORED BY THE BURDET T TRUST FOR NURSING AND BUILT BY BOWL ES & W Y ER
collection and plants with strong medicinal properties that were used in the 19th century. Elsewhere in the garden, Robert has included images of Florence on etched ‘windows’ while echoes of her handwriting will appear to be inscribed onto the perimeter walls. The centrepiece of the garden, and one of the biggest challenges of the project, is a huge timber pergola. At 60ft it will stretch the length of the garden and enclose it on three sides to suggest the courtyard. To create
the structure, we’ll be using cross-laminated timber (CLT), an engineered wood that has become known as the ‘concrete of the future’ due to its potential as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials. It is used a lot by architects in the building industry but is the first time that we’ve worked with the material. We think it’s a ‘first’ for RHS Chelsea too, as we can’t recall anything of this scale built in CLT featured at the show before – more on this next month!
HIGH STREETS EXPERTS FOR A GOVERNMENT TASKFORCE EXPLAIN HOW THE HIGH STREET CAN BOUNCE BACK AND WHY GREENING IS A VITAL PART OF ITS RECOVERY
on board to help local authorities revitalise high streets and town centres in a plight to bring back consumers, alongside the introduction of a £675m Future High Streets Fund. “You could argue it was perfect timing for the High Streets Task Force,” says Adam White, immediate past president of the Landscape Institute and an expert on the taskforce. “It got
ALL COVID’S DONE IS HIGHLIGHT THE NEED FOR MUCH GREAT SUPPORT IN OUR URBAN ENVIRONMENTS ADAM WHITE, I M M E D I AT E PA S T P R E S I D E N T O F
THE LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE
Fearing an unrecognisable high street of vacant premises, the government created the High Streets Task Force (HSTF) in 2019. The taskforce is run by the Institute of Place Management but boasts a number of organisations as part of its core team, including the Landscape Institute. Experts were brought
News Extra Regenerating the High Street.indd 11
a group of placemaking experts together to support town centre managers and we all started to look at what the ‘new normal’ would look like. The High Street Task Force was formulated before COVID-19 – all the pandemic has done is highlight the need for much greater support in our urban environments.” High streets have traditionally been retail-focused, but our consumer habits are changing, says Danny Crump, fellow HSTF expert and director of urbanism at Broadway Malyan. Look at the growth in ecommerce. Online sales soared to a 13-year high last year,
up 36% year-on-year, according to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index. “At the same time, people are looking for much more of an experiential output from their trip to town, rather than just a transactional trip,” says Danny. ©cktravels.com/Shutterstock.com
arlier in the year, Arcadia Group was forced to admit defeat. After building a retail empire for nearly a century, the British behemoth collapsed into administration in November. Online retailers snapped up some of the debris, with ASOS taking three of the group’s biggest high street chains – Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge. Unsurprisingly, the brands’ bricks and mortar stores became redundant and have since closed, including Topshop’s three-storey flagship store on Oxford Street, a landmark for those exiting Oxford Circus station for the last two decades. Whilst sympathy is undoubtedly in short supply for billionaire chairman Sir Philip Green – who became the focus of a #MeToo scandal back in 2018 – the blow to the high street was mourned, and Arcadia Group is not the only victim. Even before COVID-19 forced nonessential stores to shut their doors, plummeting profits put some of the UK’s biggest retail names under pressure to close some of their stores, including M&S, HMV and Waitrose. In 2019, Mothercare and Karen Millen were amongst a long list of retailers to fall into administration. So, how can we salvage the remains of our high streets? What role will nature play in the rescue attempt? And how can we ensure the longevity of these spaces?
Retail still has its place, though, says Andrew Haley, director at The Paul Hogarth Company, which has more than 30 years’ experience in high street regeneration. As well as being an HSTF expert, Andrew is also Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture + the Built Environment in Northern Ireland and is one of those leading the efforts for high street recovery in this part of the UK. “It’s about fuelling footfall,” says Andrew. “How can we encourage places to generate
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
ONE SIZE ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT FIT ALL. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENCOURAGE EACH HIGH STREET TO HAVE ITS DISTINCTIVENESS AND FIND ITS NICHE A N D R E W H A L E Y, D I R E C T O R , T H E PA U L H O G A R T H C O M PA N Y
Regeneration doesn’t necessarily mean multi-million-pound schemes, though, and every high street requires a different solution. “When you jump across the water to Northern Ireland, at times, we’re looking at little villages which have a population of around 1,500,” says Andrew. “If you look at English towns and cities, you’re talking major urban centres – the issues are the same, but the scale is different. For a small village, you don’t need as many cafes, restaurants, or art and community centres to give it a buzz. We’re developing a craft kit in Northern Ireland which will allow communities
CAS E ST U DY
to develop their vision and it has to be very much grounded in the local specifics of the place – one size absolutely does not fit all. It is important to encourage each high street to have its distinctiveness and find its niche.” Around three years ago, The Paul Hogarth Company carried out a scheme in Lisburn, where the council wanted a forwardlooking design which gave the city a new, distinctive character. “That was great, because it meant working with stakeholders to give a nod to its past, which was all about the linen industry, but give it a contemporary character.” To create a place for people to go, both during the day and in the evening, leaping water jets were installed for children to run through; in the evening, an eight-metre-diameter glass floor has lights which trace a person’s movements and can be used for playing games, helping to make it a destination for more people and for longer. As well as creating spaces for people, nature has to be incorporated too – and these are more interchangeable now than ever. “They’re both entirely entwined and should be – certainly the positive impact nature has on people,” says Danny. “We should be looking to green our high streets wherever possible; softening the street scene is really needed. Harsh, concrete environments are old ©1000 Words/Shutterstock.com
more trips to them? And for people to stay longer and to spend more? It’s a more complex and multi-functional environment that we need to look after and develop than just generating more retail frontages.”
LISBURN, NORTHERN IRELAND
A T O W N R E G E N E R AT I O N S C H E M E B Y T H E PA U L H O G A R T H C O M PA N Y
SOCIALLY DISTANCED STREET DINING
fashioned, but over the years as maintenance and management budgets have been slashed, the opportunity for people to keep trees in their town centres has slowly moved away. There’s a definite resurgence, though, and a recognition that it’s vital for any placemaking approach. “COVID and the lockdown have enabled people to reconnect with nature, even on a small basis, whether that’s through their own gardens or local parks – anywhere that has a little bit of green has been perceived as freedom. That recognition is now turning into expectation – that’s what people want.”
COVID AND THE LOCKDOWN HAVE ENABLED PEOPLE TO RECONNECT WITH NATURE, EVEN ON A SMALL BASIS, WHETHER THAT’S THROUGH THEIR OWN GARDENS OR LOCAL PARKS D A N N Y C R U M P, HSTF EXPERT AND DIRECTOR OF U R B A N I S M AT B R O A D W AY M A LYA N
Even one tree can make a difference, says Charlotte Norman, HSTF expert and director at AREA Landscape Architects. “If high streets are the heart of the cultural life of a town (or perhaps we should think about them as main arteries as they are generally linear), then they need to be connected to all the physical and cultural networks in an area, and this includes the green and blue. We should aim to retain or introduce trees, planting and water wherever
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
News Extra Regenerating the High Street.indd 12
News Extra Regenerating the High Street.indd 13
cyclists to encourage these modes into the town centre. “I’m not a big fan of pedestrianised space – that is a ‘mono mode’. There are people who need to drive to town centres, so accessibility and inclusivity need to be incorporated; but we can do more with our cycling and walking infrastructure and tying our public transport network into that as well, so you have seamless movement from one mode to another without having to rely on your car, especially for short journeys.” Andrew agrees, adding that some areas can be multi-use rather than permanently allocated to cars. “Sometimes, it’s about timing. Some places are busy during the day and less so after dark, so do you look at situations where you time-gate vehicular access? Maybe, over time, if it’s a thriving cultural quarter, you can limit or take the cars out in the evening as well – it’s striking that balance.” Take the new ‘streateries’ which opened up across the country when cafes, bars and
IF WE WANT TO HAVE GREENER, MORE BEAUTIFUL HIGH STREETS, THEN WE WILL NEED PROPER RESOURCES ALLOCATED TO THEIR CARE, WHICH COULD MEAN MORE AND MORE HIGHLY SKILLED, BETTER PAID JOBS IN LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE CHARLOTTE NORMAN, H S T F E X P E R T A N D D I R E C T O R AT AREA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
there is appropriate space, and many local plans and authorities strongly support and are working towards this.” A hot debate, though, is whether greening a high street involves making it car-free. Plans were scrapped by Westminster City Council in 2018 to pedestrianize Oxford Street, a decision which sparked London Mayor Sadiq Khan to lash out: “This will be seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city who would have benefited from making Oxford Street a safer, healthier and better environment." Westminster recently reversed its decision, announcing two pedestrian-friendly piazzas for Oxford Circus. Edinburgh is also pedestrianising the capital’s famous George Street as part of a 10-year transformation of the city centre. “Cars bring people, which is positive, but also take up a huge amount of space, and bring pollution, noise and hazard,” says Charlotte. “As we move towards electric vehicles and possibly lower car ownership, some of the direct environmental impact caused by cars will reduce, but that leaves the problems of land-take for roads and parking and the danger cars cause to pedestrians. “The answer probably lies in a locally specific and blended approach of incrementally reducing access and shifting most parking away from the heart of high streets, and improving walking, cycling and public transport routes. People will, after all, always do what is most convenient, affordable and enjoyable so that needs to be the main consideration.” For Danny, it’s about equitability – creating more space and comfort for pedestrians and
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 13
restaurants were limited to only offering outdoor dining as part of COVID-19 restrictions. Tables spilled out into roads, which had been closed to allow more space for businesses to utilise. A policy paper published by the
THE SUCCESS OF THE HIGH STREET TASK FORCE WILL BE AS MUCH DOWN TO CONSIDERED SOLUTIONS WHICH EMBRACE THE ‘NEW NORMAL’ AS FOSTERING OWNERSHIP ADAM WHITE, I M M E D I AT E PA S T P R E S I D E N T OF THE LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE
Landscape Institute last summer – ‘Greener recovery: Delivering a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 – says there is ‘set to be a major shift in the way we use spaces like the high street’ following the pandemic. "The temporary adaptation of urban space during lockdown has
shown what is possible, and we should seize the opportunity to lock-in these benefits." “Some of the temporary changes such a road closures to allow for social distancing have already become permanent, and since shops and hospitality opened last week, we have already seen people rushing back to town centres,” says Charlotte. “I hope that we will see all kinds of innovations in use of buildings, transport and public spaces that can ensure our high streets and town centres are vibrant and viable for the future.” Even before COVID-19, temporary schemes such as pocket parks or art installations were being used to show what was possible to revamp a high street. “Those temporary schemes are really fascinating because there are so many benefits to them, it shows what could be achieved, it’s a little taste of what’s to come,” says Danny. “It creates a focus for a conversation about what people want in
their local environment and responding to those local needs.” Putting this into practice, Davies White is creating Kingston Social Spaces, a pilot project to install three pocket parks within urban areas of Kingston town centre. The pocket parks – which will provide seating outside cafes and bars as well as planting for shade and shelter – will be in place for the rest of the year. “The concept behind this is reconnecting people, place and nature,” says Adam White. “We’ll be bringing people together as the pandemic restrictions are lifted so they will have places to gather outside, surrounded by this lush perennial planting and multi-stemmed fruit trees.” How can we turn these temporary spaces into permanent schemes, though? Especially when, as Danny Crump has already mentioned, local authorities’ maintenance and management budgets have been slashed.
Made to get the job done quickly. 14
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
ProLandscaper.JUL_BX_450x128.indd 1 News Extra Regenerating the High Street.indd 14
says Adam. “This is where we need to make sure that the partnerships are really strong between local government, central government and communities. “There are issues in terms of whole life costings and of capital works, so we invest
wisely in materials and designs which are likely to stand the test of time. “If we’re doing our job well, in terms of climate action, we are delivering rain gardens and attenuation, which should save money in terms of the long-term infrastructure for places. So, we need to make sure that those benefits are captured and reinvested into our towns and cities.” Stakeholder engagement is also vital to the success of any scheme, says Adam. Alongside creating Kingston Social Spaces, Davies White is also working with local business improvement district Kingston First in collaboration with the Edible Bus Stop to design two permanent urban spaces in the town centre, and half of this appointment is stakeholder engagement. “They wanted to foster ownership of what we developed, and they wanted nature to be at the core,” says Adam. “This project started in January, so most of it has been done over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It’s enabled us to engage a much wider audience than we probably would have done at an in-person event, it’s a fantastic asset for stakeholder engagement. “The success of the High Street Task Force will be as much down to considered solutions which embrace the ‘new normal’ as fostering ownership; and you foster ownership by investing time in quality engagement, and that’s
listening. And that’s not just having engagement with retail businesses and then with offices and then with residents – it’s about getting them all together to listen to each other.
“In terms of trees and planting, it is absolutely critical to ensure that whatever is specified is robust and resilient, and that there are mechanisms, budgets and skills in place for long term management and maintenance,” says Charlotte. “If we want to have greener, more beautiful high streets, then we will need proper resources allocated to their care, which could mean more and more highly skilled, better paid jobs in landscape maintenance – a very good example of green economy jobs.” “This is about sustainable futures, but raising the initial capital is routinely easier than funding the ongoing revenue and maintenance,”
“We’ve spoken to hundreds of local businesses to foster ownership; you can talk to them about something that might get more customers through the door. COVID-19 has shown that people understand and appreciate nature more than ever before, so the door has been opened a little wider than it ever has been for us.” The Kingston First project will act as a case study for the High Street Task Force, to showcase what can be achieved and turn theory into practice. Will this regeneration, and those benefitting from the Future High Streets Fund, prevent further retail casualties? It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?
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Let ’s Hear it From
BLAKEDOWN LANDSCAPES IS NOW IN ITS 50 TH YEAR AND THOUGH CHRIS WELLBELOVE HAS BEEN A DIRECTOR FOR JUST FIVE OF THOSE YEARS, HE’S BEEN INVOLVED WITH SOME OF ITS MOST PRESTIGIOUS PROJECTS. WE FIND OUT HOW CROSSRAIL ROOF TERRACE IN PARTICULAR IS CHANGING PERCEPTIONS, AS WELL AS WHERE CHRIS BELIEVES THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO MOVE.
hen Chris first started landscaping it was purely a way to make enough money to see him through his business and IT degree. He soon caught the landscaping bug, though, and realised a future behind a desk wasn’t quite as appealing as one outdoors creating gardens. After working as a trainee at a commercial landscaping company for a few years, the next time Chris saw a university was while undertaking a master’s in construction surveying – the bug had well and truly taken hold. Chris has now been working at Blakedown Landscapes for 13 years, beginning as an estimator and working his way up to his current role, commercial director. It’s quite the success story, especially considering Chris never intended to work in this industry. But it’s a journey which Chris is seeing less and less of and he believes it’s one of the key factors in our current skills shortage. “Our workforce has changed a lot over the years. We used to upskill younger generations and watch them work their way up through the company, but we don’t see that as much anymore. We’ve really noticed the lack of younger people seeking to gain skills.”
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
It’s not something Blakedown Landscapes has taken lying down. The company has offered students straight out of college opportunities and taken on work experience students to give them an idea of what landscaping is all about.
WE HOPE WE CAN TRIGGER SOMETHING IN THESE YOUNG PEOPLE AND SHOW THEM WHAT LANDSCAPING IS ALL ABOUT Blakedown Landscapes has even reached out to the local community, taking on unskilled residents who have a passion for the environment and an interest in the work, and training them from the ground up. This has been particularly
Pro Landscaper / July 2021
successful, with six employees coming to Blakedown Landscapes via this method. “We hope we can trigger something in these young people and show them what landscaping is all about,” Chris tells us. This issue is wider than this, though. “People still don’t understand the scale of landscaping. A lot of my friends think I’m just laying turf and putting up fences” explains Chris. “You only need to look at one of our projects; we could be doing soft and hard landscaping, drainage, civil engineering, installing bridges, building cafes, and installing signage and street furniture. It’s such a varied industry, and I don’t think there are many others that have such a wide scope of work.” There has been progress in recent years, with landscaping becoming a must have rather than an afterthought, and Chris hopes to see more of this as the industry continues to grow. “Estate regeneration work used to involve
putting down concrete paving and planting the odd tree,” Chris says. “Now we see very cleverly designed spaces where we look at a whole range of elements.”
Investment in parks has also hugely improved, something which Chris believes was wholly necessary and continues to be – only reinforced by the nation’s recent lockdowns and the phenomenal amount of outside spaces which were utilised. Even some of Chris’ friends are starting to understand the magnitude of his work, and that’s due in part to Blakedown Landscape’s Crossrail Roof Terrace. “The friends I have who work in Canary Wharf all go up there on their lunch breaks to escape London. It’s a tranquil green space up there, and it really helps them to relax and take on the rest of the day,” Chris tells us. The roof garden, covering 5,300m2, is more like a park and features 15,000 shrubs and 70 mature trees. Every piece of material for the project had to be carefully craned through a gap in the timber beam roof but the end result is beyond worth the time and effort. Despite his pride in this immense project, it’s not Chris’ favourite. That spot lies firmly with Silkstream and Montrose Park. “Though it isn’t as high profile as Crossrail, the park transformed people’s lives and that made it incredibly satisfying,” explains Chris. The project involved a large section of riparian works to the Silk Stream water course, allowing residents
access to the river which had up until then been restricted. The community also gained new football pitches, five new play areas, fitness areas and a café. Projects like this are important to Chris because of how needed they are. A few years ago, Blakedown Landscapes created a temporary park on a demolition site, and it’s a trend Chris hopes to continue to see. The park was constructed as a green roof would be, incorporating concrete plinths so new artwork could be installed every few months. Though the site has now been developed as a skyscraper, this ingenious use of space offered residents a green space rather than a sheet of concrete, but never stopped work from commencing, working for the community and the developers. Space certainly is at a premium within our towns and cities and frequently other elements take priority over soft landscaping. Often, there’s no choice but to be realistic about this, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around it. Blakedown Landscapes has installed green roofs on a number of structures. Bin stores and bike roofs alike have been adorned with meadow roofs and wildlife habitats made from stacked logs. Vertical green walls are also a successful way of bringing in biodiversity, though this is more expensive and will only work on certain projects. But: “it doesn’t have
to cost loads of money to get biodiversity into a scheme,” notes Chris. “The small green roofs we’ve created are really successful and they look fantastic.” It’s safe to say COVID-19 will change the face of our streetscapes, if it hasn’t already. Blakedown Landscapes has already seen this, as it undertook town centre regeneration work at Queens Square in Crawley, installing a giant water fountain in the centre. “It’s been a really effective scheme,” he says. “Since we installed that water fountain, shop spaces which had previously been empty and had really struggled to find businesses who wanted to rent, are now full.” Online shopping has undoubtedly risen over the years, especially among the younger
generations, but COVID-19 sent everyone online. It’s because of this that Chris believes highstreets are going to have to make themselves a destination, offering more than just shops. At the water fountain in Crawley, sockets in the ground offer the opportunity for pop up events, and the warm weather attracts parents and children to the water. “Our high streets are going to have to start competing with some of these out-of-town areas.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Queens Square, Crawley RHS Wisley Welcome Centre Great Yarmouth Cannon Park, Birmingham The Natural History Museum Crossrail Roof Garden, Canary Wharf
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 19
Shopping is so easy now, there has to be more of a reason to go to the shops,” Chris points out. “It’s fantastic that a lot of them have begun to green themselves up, and we’ve seen artistic interventions – interactive and static – bringing more interest, too.” Design and build companies versus solely design or build companies has been frequently debated. Blakedown Landscapes is a largely build company, but that doesn’t mean Chris believes this is always the best way to approach projects. “For high-end residential builds, design and build contractors work very well,” he says. “On the larger schemes its better to have this separate and let landscape architects design and contractors build. Where we might make more practical choices, landscape architects keep the integrity of the scheme – you often get a better output this way.” But even as a separate contractor on a project, Blakedown Landscapes often has a hand in the design. “In recent years, we’ve
been undertaking a lot of contractor design work, though it’s more technical than aesthetic,” affirms Chris. Within this realm of work, a bridge may be drawn quite simply, and it’s left to the contractor to turn it into a functional and buildable feature that complies with regulations.
As can be seen from its work introducing biodiversity in any way it can, Blakedown Landscapes knows it has a huge role in the fight
WE DON’T WANT TO TAKE THE EASY OPTION WHEN IT’S AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ENVIRONMENT against climate change. It aims to reuse or recycle 95% of materials on site, working with clients to make sure this target is hit. Blakedown is also working closely with architects to take an in depth look at the materials it’s bringing onto site: “We aim to source things from closer to home. A lot of materials are sourced from China because it’s easy to specify, but we don’t want to take the easy option when it’s at the expense of the environment. Though it does its part in every project it undertakes, Blakedown Landscapes wants to
release a five-year plan to cement its goals across the whole company and achieve carbon neutrality. “We don’t want to do all this for a certificate. We really want to be doing it the right way, for all the right reasons.” It’s not always easy to know where to start when it comes to becoming carbon neutral, but Chris has found working with an environmental consultant gave the company the knowledge and wisdom is needed to make the improvements it needed to. Though it has already began to move towards electric hand tools and invests heavily in tree planting within towns and cities, Blakedown Landscapes wants to look into electric vehicles too. Electric company cars are definitely on the cards, but plant lifts and EV vans still aren’t powerful enough. Blakedown has undertaken trials on electric plant lifts but found they didn’t last as long as they needed, requiring a recharge from a diesel generator – defeating the point. But Chris is determined this won’t discourage the company from its goals: “The more we invest in electric cars, for instance, the more the technology will improve. Everyone has got to play their part in that.” As well as setting five-year goals for sustainability, Chris has plans to expand Blakedown Landscape’s work so it can offer a national service, bringing its expertise, attention to detail and appreciation for the environment to the rest of the country.
7 RHS Wisley Welcome Centre ©RHS/Paul Debois 8 Bank Street, Canary Wharf ©Paul Scott 9 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival ©Max Lacome
C O N TA C T Blakedown Landscapes Tel 01276 856 856 Email email@example.com
20 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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BCA DESIGN I
t’s no surprise that the intermittent closure of bricks and mortar stores last year led to a boom in online shopping. Last year, e-commerce saw the highest online sales growth in 13 years, according to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index. What is perhaps less obvious is the impact this could have on the landscaping sector – and in particular, on BCA Design. Based in Warwickshire, BCA Design Ltd – formerly Barry Chinn Associates – specialises in the industrial logistics sector. It has become a market leader, working with some clients in this area for more than 25 years. And it’s now reaping the rewards of its specialism too. “The move from people shopping on the high street to shopping online has almost put logistics at the focus of everyone’s mind, not only in terms of the economy but also landscape,” says Guy Holland, one of three directors alongside Mark Bodman and Mark Greaves. “A lot of warehouses are now becoming more and more prevalent on the edge of towns and along motorway systems, rather than just being the backwater on an industrial estate.
Inside BCA Design.indd 23
A RECENT REBRANDING IS JUST THE START OF BCA DESIGN’S PLANS TO BECOME ONE OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY
This is where people are shopping now, this is where the future seems to be going. Clients are making them more appealing, more attractive areas to work, because more people are going to be working there.”
work. Barry started as a sole trader after the architecture practice he was working for closed down, and gradually built a team of employees. In 2017, he appointed the three new directors and, after a two-year transition period, Barry retired from the practice.
WE’RE REBRANDING AS BCA DESIGN. THE ETHOS IS EXACTLY THE SAME Brexit has played its part too. “Some of our clients were building warehouses for storage at ports, either before goods cross the Channel or after goods have come in. I think this added to the current boom that we’re seeing in that area, as well as a lot of new warehouses for online shopping.” Since it was founded by Barry Chinn in 1993, the practice has worked primarily in the commercial sector for industrial logistics and retail, and in the last decade or so has taken on more landscape and visual impact assessment
Now, the company is rebranding with a new name, new logo and a new website. “To be honest, what triggered it was the website becoming terribly outdated, as they do. In line with that, the practice was still called Barry Chinn Associates after Barry left, which may be slightly confusing for people – some were still ringing up and asking for Barry,” explains Guy, who joined in 2000 after working in London for six years. Within a year, he was made an associate and continued at this level until he was made a director four years ago. 1 University of Leicester’s new urban square 2 Rendering of circular fountain design
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 23
“A lot of people refer to us as BCA in meetings, so we wanted to keep that BCA abbreviation but move away from the previous description of Barry Chinn Associates. So, we’re rebranding as BCA Design. The ethos is exactly the same; having worked with Barry for 19 years, and the other directors for a similar amount of time, we wanted to carry on the success that we’d had during that period but see what we could add to that.” Guy was drawn to Barry Chinn Associates initially because it was “run as a business”, whereas the practices he’d worked for in London after graduating “were run as design studios – they didn’t make much money, but they were good fun”. For Guy, he found the professionalism and security of Barry Chinn Associates more appealing, and as a foundation on which to build a career. “It had good contacts and good clients; it was in a stronger position and I felt it offered more in terms of a structure in which to progress.”
WE HAVE A DUAL LAYER OF REPRESENTING THE CLIENT BUT ALSO THE REPRESENTING THE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE TWO NOW ALMOST GO HAND IN HAND BCA Design offers a full service, as defined by the Landscape Institute, breaking this down into three areas: planning and approvals; detailed design and tender; and site supervision and maintenance. The practice is based in Warwickshire, so a lot of its work is in the Midlands, but it also carries out work in London, on the south coast and in the North. Many of its projects are based around the motorway corridors due to its specialism. “Because of the clients we have – quite a few of which are in logistics and are trying to service the whole of the UK as high street and food brands – we consequently go wherever they
24 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
Inside BCA Design.indd 24
need, for either regional logistics or down to the final mile with small warehouse projects. That can be all over the UK.” And further afield too. The team has completed a lot of work on the Isle of Man, as well as working on a project in France and even China. Barry and Guy visited the country to design an engine plant in Mianyang, a Sichuan province, which Guy describes as “a bit unusual, but it was good fun and a good experience”. Another memorable project for the practice was working with Wirtz International on Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf, which won a BALI National landscape Award in 2003. The large open space, around one hectare in size, was built over the Jubilee Line station and the shopping centre at Canary Wharf and is surrounded by the towering skyscrapers for which the area is well-known. In more normal times, it’s a bustling hotspot for those working in these offices.
It’s this end use which makes a project stand out for BCA Design, such as designing a new urban square at Leicester University which is now used by hundreds of students. “We finished this a couple of years ago. We looked at the whole campus and they had parking centrally located which they wanted turned, effectively, into a plaza. So, we got rid of the cars and created a square which has been very successful; it’s an asset for the university in terms of social space but also it can be used for career fairs and other events.” Ecology is also crucial to BCA Design’s work, as Guy explains. “We do a lot of woodland planting, and we find that rewarding in terms of creating habitats and biodiversity. Trees are the best technology we have for taking carbon out of the air, and on some of our large-scale logistics projects we can be planting 200 trees and many hectares of woodland, grassland and wetlands. The environmental side is very rewarding.” Clients are becoming more aware of the value of landscape to the environment too, says Guy, particularly with the introduction of the Environment Bill and Biodiversity Net Gain targets.
They are also looking at the physical and mental wellbeing benefits of landscape. “On virtually all schemes now we’re providing areas which would have been just wildlife areas before but are now being opened up as walking routes – so, a 20-minute walking route to fit into a lunchtime, with outdoor seating areas away from the office and the hustle and bustle of the business park.”
WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DESIGN SPACES WITH AS MUCH FLAIR AS SOME OF THE OTHER PRACTICES Part of BCA Design’s plans for the future are to continue helping and guiding clients towards being more environmentally responsible. “We have a lot of commercial clients and it would be so easy for us to just do what they want, but they are looking to us more and more for guidance, not just around biodiversity – which is in the planning system as a requirement – but also the general way that their company is
Inside BCA Design.indd 25
perceived. Thinking globally and acting locally is something that a lot of our clients are keen to do, so this is something that we’re going to be more involved with, especially over the next eight years, which is the period of time scientists predict it will take for the planet to warm up by another degree. That’s imminent and we need to be acting now. “We have a dual layer of representing the client but also the representing the environment, and the two now almost go hand in hand. Ecological landscape has become the main design style of how we operate note and we’re working very closely with ecologists on all our projects.” Through its work and its rebranding, BCA Design is looking to join the group of big-name practices such as LDA Design, Gillespies and Grant Associates. “It’s difficult to break into that,” admits Guy. “There’s almost an element of fame to them and developers want that – they want to be associated with that brand. Part of our rebranding is to try to position ourselves with them – ‘the big six’, to use a football term – or certainly move towards that, in terms of what we do. We have possibly become typecast a bit in terms of practicality and commercial work, but we have 14 technical staff here and
they’re all fully trained. We have the ability to design spaces with as much flair as some of the other practices. It’s really striking that balance between having the right flair and the practicality of drawings that will get through planning and get the drawing off the ground.” Needless to say, after nearly three decades of quietly building a successful practice, it’s time for BCA Design to break its silence and shout about its achievements.
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Hand sketch of staff seating area Oxford Brookes University Aston Martin Courtyard, Gaydon BCA Office, Warwickshire Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf BCA Staff at an Escape Room, Christmas 2019 Morrisons HQ, Bradford
C O N TA C T Barry Chinn Associates Limited, Harbury Road, Deppers Bridge, Southam, Warwickshire, CV47 2SZ Tel 01926 614 031 Email email@example.com
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 25
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URBAN RETREAT, WANDSWORTH ©JO KOSSAK
INFORM THE LANDFORM GARDEN BAR ©RACHEL WARNE
3 0 U N D E R 3 0 U P DAT E
RHIANNON WILLIAMS AFTER TAKING A YEAR AND A HALF OUT OF THE INDUSTRY, RHIANNON HAS RE-JOINED WITH A RENEWED VIGOUR FOR LANDSCAPE DESIGN, TAKING ON A NEW ROLE WITH GARDEN CLUB LONDON
s soon as she set eyes on a poster advertising landscape architecture, Rhiannon Williams knew she wanted to pursue a career in this industry. She was visiting the University of Sheffield to find out more about its architecture courses, but immediately switched her attention when she saw the advertisement. “I completely changed trajectories in that split second,” says Rhiannon. “I wanted to go to Sheffield so badly that I applied to two different courses – landscape architecture & ecology and landscape architecture & planning.” She ended up studying the former, and before starting a Masters in landscape architecture, Rhiannon carried out a year’s internship at Landform Consultants, which honed her enthusiasm for garden design. “During my first year, I went to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with my
URBAN RETREAT, WANDSWORTH ©JO KOSSAK
mum and went around asking everybody for work experience. Mark [Gregory] was the only person who said ‘yes’. So, I started off doing a week’s work experience, then worked there during all the show periods in the summer. Then I basically never left.”
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That was until July 2019, when Rhiannon conceded she needed a break from landscape design. Two years earlier, her fiancé Matthew Bradbury – who worked alongside her at Landform Consultants – had tragically passed away, and Rhiannon admits she fell out of love with landscaping slightly afterwards. So, inspired by her show garden experience, Rhiannon joined a floristry course. She’d
I WOULD SAY TO ANYBODY THAT IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE A BIT OF TIME OUT AND TO TAKE STOCK; IT WORKED FOR ME AND I’M PLEASED I DID IT designed her first show garden in 2017 – the Urban Rain Garden at Hampton Court – which scooped Silver-Gilt; the following year, her second garden – The Landform Garden Bar – picked up a Gold medal. “I had my own gardens, and I’d planted on both of Mark’s Yorkshire gardens, which can feel a lot like flower arranging. I also got chatting to a couple of florists at Chelsea and it sounded like a lot of fun; I love plants, I love flowers, and I needed a break, so Mark suggested I take a year out and pursue floristry to see what happens.” On completing her course in August last year, after a slight delay due to the pandemic, Rhiannon started working for a florist shop, but she was already starting to miss the landscape
WITH GARDEN CLUB LONDON'S GROWING RANK OF FEMALE STAFF ©DOM SALMON
industry. When she spotted a vacancy at Garden Club London earlier this year, she decided to apply. “I would have loved to go back to Mark, and I love Landform and everything Mark has done for me, but I felt like a fresh start was needed. I would say to anybody that it’s always a good idea to take a bit of time out and to take stock. Mark was really supportive; he gave me the confidence to take a break and he’s always understood that people come first.” Rhiannon is now three months into her role as a landscaper designer at Garden Club London and is thrilled to be back working on residential gardens, with four projects currently on the go. “Being thrown in at the deep end was the best thing for me, I’ve always been the kind of person who deals with that better. I’m really enjoying being back in the office and working with such a fun and amazing team. It’s great to be working on some really exciting and different projects and to learn from some great people such as Tony Woods and Qian Gao.” And the industry is fortunate to welcome back a flourishing designer with a passion which is as strong, if not stronger, than when she first saw that poster which kickstarted her career.
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 27
M A R C U S WATS O N GREEN WASTE TO THE RESCUE?
MARCUS WATSON OF GROUND CONTROL DISCUSSES HOW GREEN WASTE COULD BE USED TO HELP TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE
he energy production methods with the lowest impact on the environment are solar and wind. They now also happen to provide the cheapest forms of energy. Combined with compelling environmental advocacy, consumer demand and political will, our energy mix is getting greener. For example, 62.1% of the UK’s electricity production was from renewables, biomass and nuclear in Q1 2020.1,2 The key drawbacks to solar and wind power are predictability, consistency and storage. This, however, does not mean we have to default to fossil fuels and nuclear power to provide stable, consistent sources of energy. A number of alternatives exist, including harvesting solar and wind energy from parts of the world that benefit from consistent sunshine and wind (with battery storage capacity to smooth remaining variations). XLinks is one such project which aims to bring 7% of the UK’s electricity need from Morocco.3 Other, more niche, green power production systems can be found closer to home. It is these I focus on in this article as land-based industries may have an increasingly important part to play. FIGURE 1: ANAEROBIC DIGESTION SYSTEM, EFFICIENTLY TURNING WASTE STREAMS INTO USEABLE, BENEFICIAL GREEN PRODUCTS
Green Hydrogen Fuel H2 Steam reforming
Carbon Capture CCUS
28 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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Carbon Dioxide CO2
Anaerobic digestion (AD), which uses microbes to break down biomass in the absence of oxygen,4 can be an efficient and useful way to produce biogas, energy and other beneficial products using biomass waste products such as food waste, green waste, farm slurry and waste water as feedstock. An additional benefit of such a process is that it manages waste streams that would otherwise reach the end of their life much earlier (being diverted to landfill). Companies such as DBE Energy already provide such green energy as part of the UK’s energy mix.5 Figure 1 illustrates how AD transforms biomass waste streams into energy sources and products such as fertilisers and soil improvers that are both environmentally friendly and carbon neutral (note: AD plants can be net-zero or carbon negative if applications are found for the carbon dioxide or if it is sequestered). The eagle eyed amongst us will notice that the AD process produces greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and the more potent methane. Crucially, the natural decomposition processes of untreated biomass (e.g. composting, landfill) also create greenhouse gases, albeit more slowly. The key benefit of such an AD process is that it captures and puts to good use the greenhouse gases than would otherwise escape Niche heavy transport, e.g. into the natural environment, buses, HGVs displacing dirty forms of energy. An added benefit of the AD process Green Fuel is that, through energy production Grid Power via the grid, it transforms the highly Food Grade F&B potent methane greenhouse gas Industrial Gases Garden Nurseries into the less potent carbon dioxide (although the latter lingers for much longer in the atmosphere). In our industry, we deal with green waste every day and, given the above, Fertiliser Soil Improver it does not take a huge intellectual
leap to see how our waste streams could become the feedstock of a valuable energy and fertiliser production system that is environmentally friendly. Imagine a network of local AD sites that is able to receive green waste from landscapers, providing a win-win-win solution for customers, businesses and the environment. “Why is this not already mainstream?”, I hear you cry. There are a few challenges largely related to the seasonality of our business. Huge amounts of green waste are generated in spring and summer and virtually none in the winter when energy demand is at its highest. In addition, AD microbes do not easily tolerate frequent or rapid changes in ‘diet’ as the cultures are optimised for a certain type of input feedstock. That said, it seems these challenges are nothing more than problems that we can solve with a little ingenuity and focus. If you have any thoughts and ideas on the matter, do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. 1
3 4 5
‘Renewables set to become dominant force in Britain’s power mix by 2020’, Sarah George, Edie Newsroom, 26 June 2020. https://www.edie.net/news/10/ Renewables-accounted-for-record-47--of-UKgeneration-in-first-quarter-of-2020 ‘Energy Trends – June 2020’, BEIS. https://assets. publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923057/ Energy_Trends_June_2020.pdf https://xlinks.co www.biogas-info.co.uk http://dbe.energy
A B O U T M A R C U S W AT S O N Marcus Watson joined Ground Control in 2011 and led the company for close to a decade, handing over the reins to Jason Knights in January 2021. Marcus remains with Ground Control as nonexecutive director and a significant shareholder.
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L AU R I E J AC K S O N CITY CONNECTIONS
LAURIE JACKSON EXPLAINS THE IMPORTANCE OF OPENING THE CITY GATES TO WILDLIFE
ith over 80% of the UK population living in urban areas, there has never been a better time to talk about the wildlife in our towns and cities. Urbanisation is placing more pressure on wild spaces and species. In tandem, there is an increasing disconnect and risk that the natural environment fails to find relevance among this growing urban audience. The relationships within and between species and their environment determine how an ecosystem functions, and the quality and variety of the services it provides. A biodiverse natural environment can help to counteract some of the biggest challenges faced by cities: air pollution, rising temperatures, flooding and poor health outcomes. We are still learning how species live and interact in urban areas, and how this differs from non-urban counterparts. By maximising our support of nature in built-up areas, we can also secure the vital services it provides. One of the lessons of 2020 must be the importance of connection to wellbeing. A wealth of evidence points to the influence of a thriving natural environment on physical and mental
health and resilience. Urban landscapes weave together social and ecological systems, offering huge potential to create and maintain positive relationships between people and nature. There are long lists of suggestions to help people engage with nature, from learning to
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identify species and listening to the dawn chorus, to growing plants and walking in natural settings. These are all good, but in my experience many people need support to have the confidence to connect with nature, to see it as something for them, and to transform passive into active interest. We need to tell better stories about wildlife, to make the species that cohabit our cities feel like valued neighbours, in order to capture people’s attention and imagination.
URBAN GROWTH HAS SEVERED AND ISOLATED GREEN SPACES AND WILDLIFE SITES Daily experience of nature in a crucial first step in breaking down real or perceived barriers to increasing awareness of nature. The wildlife that people experience locally will be central in shaping their views of nature as a whole. There is a huge need to better plan urban areas to enable this immersion in nature. Urban growth has severed and isolated green spaces and wildlife sites, and there is a need for better collaboration to deliver more sustainable urban landscapes that enable positive interactions between people and wildlife. This has direct importance on the ability of species to survive, thrive and move through urban areas, as well as creating healthy places to live for more of the population. Management of green spaces, including parks and road verges to help wildlife prosper, is a good first step in creating city-wide networks of habitats, where the restoration of soils can help with carbon capture and flood prevention. Other opportunities include rain gardens, green roofs and community gardens.
Urbanisation affects biodiversity at local and landscape-scales. Working in rural areas, I encourage landowners to join up their holdings across a landscape. This patchwork is magnified in urban areas, which can include tens or hundreds of thousands of individual landowners. Private gardens have huge potential and the management decisions made in each of these spaces will impact wildlife: the differences between astroturf and garden meadows are stark. Whilst there are still questions around best-practice for biodiversity-friendly cities, the general principles of more, bigger, better managed and wellconnected spaces, along with a bias towards native species planting should be applied. In order to turn around the decline in wildlife, the support and interest of local communities is crucial. By improving the environments where the majority of people live, there is also the opportunity to create meaningful connections that drive environmental awareness and empower local communities to turn knowledge into action.
A BOU T LAU RIE JACKSON Laurie Jackson is an ecologist, wildlife guide, writer and natural history trainer based in Sussex. Her background includes environmental policy and land management advice, and she has worked on a number of conservation projects across southern England.
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ANDREW WILSON IT’S ALL ABOUT SPACE
ANDREW WILSON CONSIDERS THE WAY IN WHICH THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED PERCEPTIONS OF URBAN LIVING AS PEOPLE LEAVE THE CITY FOR SPACE TO BREATHE
ntil the start of 2019 our towns and cities were becoming denser, our housing smaller and our urban gardens almost disappearing as meaningful spaces. In 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics, the average British garden was a modest 140m2. In addition, one in eight people had no garden or no access to a garden or communal space. As urban centres increased in density, gardens reduced in size or were no longer provided as important outdoor spaces. Such was our desire to live in urban centres few questioned this scenario. How things have changed.
ESTATE AGENTS HAVE WITNESSED AN INCREASE IN REQUESTS FOR PROPERTIES WITH GARDENS, NOW A SIGNIFICANT SELLING POINT The pandemic taught us immediately that outdoor space was safer to share than indoor spaces and that air circulation was a key factor. Anyone living in high-rise apartments as the pandemic hit and developed would have certainly felt diminished which in some ways explains the rush to our open spaces as restrictions were lifted last year. Since learning to live with the pandemic there has been a mass migration from urban centres to the suburbs and beyond where properties come with more generous private gardens. Estate agents have witnessed an
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increase in requests for properties with gardens, now a significant selling point rather than a tedious extra languishing at the bottom of the must-have list. New ways of working with people no longer tied into the daily commute and shared office spaces mean that many can live further away from their original workspace. Many employers have moved to full or partial home working which makes travelling a distance much more bearable. What this all means is a potential rethink of our gardens as habitats for us to enjoy and share with wildlife but also as green spaces that contribute to the health of our urban centres. Many of those fleeing the city may be garden owners for the first time. They represent an opportunity to develop gardens in a different way to our predecessors – less ornamental and more environmentally focused. They are owners of spaces that could be designed as balanced habitats for diverse invertebrates, birds and mammals (which include us) and the associated planting all users need as an essential environmental support. For the urban dwellers who remain, gardens must be more of a lifeline for our towns and cities. At present, 24% of Greater London is covered by private gardens, which is a significant proportion of green space. The idea of using that series of separate individual spaces as a more unified whole suggests a different future and a different way of thinking. An increase in tree planting in these spaces would see urban temperatures reduced and air filtration improved, both increasingly important considerations for our general health. A look at many garden books over recent decades will show a fascination with small
trees for small gardens, but perhaps now is the time to think big. This has lessons for garden designers as well as their clients but also for insurance companies who have in the past shown zero tolerance for urban tree planting. That is one reason why many of our new housing developments are virtually devoid of decent trees. One of the most uplifting presentations I have heard recently came from professor Alastair Griffiths, now in-residence at the new RHS Education Centre Wisley which opened last month. Here, the science of the garden and gardening should be revealed over the coming years, a valuable, objective focus that should provide essential reference for us all, no matter where we live. Pictured: RHS Hilltop — The Home of Gardening Science at RHS Wisley ©Chris Gorman/RHS
ABOUT ANDREW WILSON Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer.
Deck installation: Composite Decking Lifestyles. Photography: Jack Wilson Studios.
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C H R I STO P H E R M A RT I N SOCIAL STAGES
WHERE ARE ALL THE STOOPS? CHRISTOPHER MARTIN EXPLAINS HOW THESE STRUCTURES IN URBAN AREAS CAN BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER
he street is the most significant public space in the city. Principally because it is right outside your door granted, but also because streets often make up 30% of the open space in the entire city, so opportunity to engage with this open space is frequent, and democratic. Because of this, perhaps the most impactful improvement to public life we can make is to give more space to people on streets – to people walking and relaxing on streets – because this leads to more social streets and I would argue a more accepting society because we have created a more relaxing place and a less contested space. At the root of this is designing streets in such a way as to encourage us to spend more time in a public forum, because this increases the opportunity we have for social interaction, for exchange, for spontaneity, and for city life. This is the root of urban and human success; it is what towns and cities are for; this is what society needs from them, and this is what makes us happy. In recognition of this, and indeed in recognition of this month’s Urbanism issue, I want to discuss one of the single most important urban interventions that breathes life into the street, and something which should be replicated and rolled out in new developments as we look to build more and more, and better and better. Welcome to The Stoop.
We can all now picture a stoop, I reckon; albeit you’re probably not picturing England. Scotland, maybe, likely New York City, or almost certainly The Netherlands. Wherever you are picturing, you are of course picturing a Dutch stoop, as it was their 17th century travels which seeded the stoop in our collective architectural vernacular, bringing
WE SHOULD SEE MORE STOOPS, CARVING SOCIABILITY AND COMMUNITY INTO STREETS with them their elegant solution that ensured their living rooms were raised above flood waters. Outside of the Netherlands, especially in NYC, stoops ebbed and flowed through fashions and foibles with a great many being removed as larger homes were broken down into flats, and as the need for a concealed servants’ entrance under the stoop dwindled. Alongside this sterilisation of architectural feature, however, was a sterilisation of street life, of the community spirit of a neighbourhood.
And this is probably how you have been picturing a stoop, full of people sitting and watching. Indeed, one of the true joys of urban life is sitting on a stoop – maybe with a beverage, maybe with a paper – and watching the world go by. Stoops are where parents catch up with neighbours whilst watching their children play, singlehandedly increasing the social life of streets as well as enabling children to play in the street simply because there is a comfortable and enjoyable place for parents to sit and watch. The stoop is a stage, surrounded by the daily rhythm of the life of your neighbourhood. A place to take in and be connected to the music of the city: laughter, the sounds of passing vehicles and the greetings of friends. But as Jane Jacobs says, it also “adds to the fabric of a neighbourhood, providing a positive, self-governing urban environment”. For all this and more, I say we should see more stoops, carving sociability and community into streets and providing a stage which encourages us to spend more time in a public forum – the root of urban and human success.
A BOU T C H RISTOP HER MARTIN Christopher is an influential urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces; as well as supporting cities and governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible. He is co-founder and director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement; a trustee of the UK charity for everyday walking – Living Streets; vice chair of the UK Urban Design Group; and is a member of the United Nations Planning and Climate Action Group.
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©Carl Milner Photography
e all know air pollution is bad for us, but when faced with the stats it’s startling. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. It’s easy to feel this is an issue that’s doesn’t touch the UK in quite such a significant way, but according to Public Health England (PHE), between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year are attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution in the UK. Leeds itself was recently faced by its own air pollution statistics. Alongside a number of cities across the UK, it was asked by the government to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. It needed to make some changes and change it did. The council switched its fleet to low emission vehicles, improved its infrastructure for zero
ELECTRIC VEHICLE LAUNCH, JANUARY 2020
Local Authority Leeds.indd 37
emission electric vehicles by installing electric vehicle charge points and heavily promoted walking and cycling, while making it safer for them to do so by expanding cycle lanes and pedestrianised spaces. Perhaps the biggest impact though, was the switch to cleaner vehicles. Aided by £7m of financial support in CLEAN AIR DAY, HORSFORTH BREWERY
WHILE WE CELEBRATE THAT OUR AIR IS CLEANER THAN EVER, THIS COUNCIL ALSO RECOGNISES THAT AIR POLLUTION REMAINS THE BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT TO OUR HEALTH grants and interest free loans, businesses got onboard with this change so quickly that the planned Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was discontinued without a single vehicle being charged. “If Leeds were to introduce a CAZ today, only a fraction of vehicles would be affected because the vast majority of businesses are
©Carl Milner Photography
ALONGSIDE SEVERAL OTHER UK CITIES, RECENTLY LEEDS WAS ASKED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO TACKLE ITS LEVELS OF AIR POLLUTION. TODAY, LEEDS’ AIR IS CLEANER THAN EVER. WE TAKE A LOOK AT HOW IT ACHIEVED THIS AND WHY IT’S ONLY JUST THE START
now driving cleaner vehicles than they were just a few years ago,” explained councillor James Lewis, leader for Leeds City Council. 90% of its buses and 80% of its heavy goods vehicles driven in the city now use cleaner Euro VI engines. Incredibly, because of the quick uptake from local businesses, Leeds air pollution at key points is below legal limits and is not likely to exceed them again. But meeting the UK’s air pollutions requirements is just a first step. Indeed, in comparison to WHO’s guidelines, the UK exceeds particulate limits by double. Where WHO recommends an annual mean of 20 µg/m3 for course particulate matter (PM10) the UK recommends 40 µg/m3; where WHO recommends an annual mean of 10µg/m3 for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) the UK recommends 25 µg/m3.
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 37
Leeds certainly isn’t resting on its laurels now it has met the UK’s legal targets; it’s got its sights set on WHO’s firmer guidelines. “While we celebrate that our air is cleaner than ever, and cleaner than some other UK cities, this council also recognises that air pollution remains the biggest environmental threat to our health,” explained Councillor James Lewis. “That’s why we have introduced even stricter targets aligned with WHO guidelines. We will continue working hard to protect the health of everyone in Leeds from the effects of polluted air.” Connecting Leeds encompasses this work. It’s a strategy with an ambition to make Leeds as a city where you don’t need a car and where everyone can afford to make a zero-carbon choice. In recent years, the council has worked with partners to invest more than £200m to improve public transport and active travel infrastructure. But the changes seen in and around Leeds aren’t all about emissions.
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Local Authority Leeds.indd 38
Like so many other councils, Leeds has declared a climate emergency. As a result, it has now set ambitious targets of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. On the road to this, one of its biggest ambitions is to practically double tree cover while reducing the average distance from green space across the city by 2050.
ONE OF ITS BIGGEST AMBITIONS IS TO PRACTICALLY DOUBLE TREE COVER WHILE REDUCING THE AVERAGE DISTANCE FROM GREEN SPACE ACROSS THE CITY BY 2050
It’s not working alone, though. The White Rose Forest partnership aims to increase woodland across the region of North and West Yorkshire by planting 50 million trees in urban environments and the countryside. In fact, it will increase Leeds’ existing 17% tree canopy cover to 33% by 2050. Established in 2000, it is now supported by 30 organisations including government, charities, community enterprises, and of course, local authorities. We know woodlands provide a range of benefits for landscape, wildlife and for communities, but The White Rose Forest partnership is ensuring it does by involving a wide range of disciplines in the design-led approach to tree planting. It’s estimated that the social, economic and environmental benefits of this tree planting will amount to £2.5bn. “By planting and protecting millions of trees and ensuring that no household in Leeds is further than 500 metres from green space over the next 30 years, this strategy seeks to improve the quality, quantity and access to our woodlands,” explained councillor Lisa Mulherin, the then executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development. “We can’t plant our way out of a climate emergency – but delivering this strategy successfully will enable Leeds to become a carbon neutral city quicker than not delivering it. That time makes a difference.” Leeds isn’t blindly planting trees, though. In some cases, tree planting locations will be decided by landowners, but in other cases a Systematic Conservation Planning Tool will be utilised. Under development by Leeds University, it will help produce an overall planting approach using data stored on
map layers which demonstrate carbon sequestration potential, existing urban farmland, biodiversity and open space, and areas of multiple deprivation. Leeds is also taking full advantage of the government’s £900m Getting Building Fund (GBF). It has identified four infrastructure projects that are sufficiently mature to meet the government’s ‘shovel ready’ criteria for inclusion in a bid to the GBF. These will form the basis of a new programme to regenerate whilst enhancing climate resilience through a series of green infrastructure. Currently, it aims to do so with four projects. The first to be approved so far focuses on the public realm space outside the Corn Exchange. Here, road infrastructure and busy streets lack greenery and underutilise the iconic building and its key location. The transformation will see street trees introduced, safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians and the Corn Exchange create a pavilion-like area in the public space. Sovereign Street Bridge will provide a traffic free routes across river Aire, while Crown Point Road greening scheme will reduce the current highway alignment to a single lane carriageway creating new cycle lanes and higher quality public realm space. Meadow Lane will also see the roads given back to pedestrians and cyclists, as a four-lane highway is brought down to two. Around this, a hard landscaped civic plaza will create opportunities for socialising and small events, central lawns bordered by shrubs and trees will make the most of their southern aspect and a biodiverse area allows for a more contemplative space, with dappled shade, shrubs and rain gardens.
WE CAN’T PLANT OUR WAY OUT OF A CLIMATE EMERGENCY — BUT DELIVERING THIS STRATEGY SUCCESSFULLY WILL ENABLE LEEDS TO BECOME A CARBON NEUTRAL CITY QUICKER THAN NOT DELIVERING IT The whole scheme will keep the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in site, and it is hoped that it will achieve a measurable level of carbon sequestration amounting to 628.17kg. It’s a vision which the council, alongside adjoining landowners, has been working on for over a decade. And now Meadow Land will connect Leeds to a brand new city centre park.
Aire Park will become a landmark within Leeds. So far, two hectares of the park have been detailed, with an additional 1.5 hectares expected to follow soon. The first phase of the park will connect The Tetley Triangle – a public event space surrounded by shops, cafes, homes and offices – ornamental gardens, a large green space for play or exercise, an avenue of cherry trees, meadow path and a 1km exercise route. The space will be open year round, morning and night, and its safe to say it will be hugely welcomed. While this is all beautiful and beneficial to the community, it also helps achieve Leeds number one priority: Aire Park will help reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in the city centre. For any naysayers out there, Leeds proves that things can be turned around. From its delicate position a few years ago, it has cleaned up its air and is making strides to green up its streets. Leeds is certainly on the right green track, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Local Authority Leeds.indd 39
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 39
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UK LANDSCAPE BAROMETER APRIL 2021 STATS
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n this issue of the UK Landscape Barometer, we are focused on the trading month of April 2021. As we edged closer to normality with the lifting of major restrictions, and with the extra sunny days and trends we’ve seen so far, it’s easy to assume confidence would be high. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and it may feel slightly alarming to see that confidence has instead dropped by a significant 47% on last month. It could be said that the drop in confidence isn’t a reflection of the stats the UK Landscape Barometer has collected – the majority are still experiencing increases. But in fact, the decrease appears to more likely be an indication that the supply shortage is beginning to take its toll, as comments again express concern for the months ahead and the impact the shortage could have on them. There is additional concern about the amount of work being completed by unqualified landscapers. Comments reflected on the need for more skilled workers to keep up with projects, and fear is rising around the industry getting a bad name due to the lack of regulation on quality. If you would like the full report or would like to contribute to the UK Landscape Barometer moving forward, please send an email to Gemma Lloyd on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01903 777 594. Please note that all statistics are based on those surveyed and compare April 2021 and April 2020.
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 100% 90%
Lower Equal Higher
80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30%
PROJECTS 7% 7%
UK Landscape Barometer.indd 43
Higher No response
We have seen a drop in the number of participants reporting increases across all areas, compared to last month’s data. Nonetheless, respondents are still experiencing increases. Enquiries stood high at 84%, and turnover at 75%. We can see that the number of those working on projects is still high, even amid the supply shortage which is encouraging. Conversion rates saw a 52% rise, and a higher number of participants said their staff levels had remained the same.
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 43
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
80% 100% Lower
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING
44 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
UK Landscape Barometer.indd 44
80% 100% Lower
Figures have repeated themselves, as the UK Landscape Barometer again reports that 100% of participants have experienced increases all round. Whilst this is undoubtedly positive, there is still wide-spread and growing concern for the future as plant availability remains low and demand high. One participant said: “The industry remains unseasonably busy. Demand is high and availability across all product grouping is a challenge. There has been a noticeable tightening on the availability of seasonal labour since lockdown restrictions have eased and with government policy on plant health.” Another nursery said: “Plant availability – the demand is far outstripping supply at the moment. I hope this should start to ease in the next month or so; however, there will still be supply issues throughout the whole season and moving into next year.”
National turnover increased by
DECREASED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 5 MONTHS
since the start of the UK Landscape Barometer
The South saw an increase of
Enquiries rose by
The lowest increase in turnover was seen by domestic landscapers at
STAFF LEVELS for design and build companies
The greatest increase in turnover was seen by design and build companies at
SOIL The UK Landscape Barometer has recorded the most positive month for soil suppliers since it began eight months ago; 100% of participants have experienced increases across all areas, and quotes have risen by 50% when compared to last month. One participant said: “Obviously, we were in the midst of the pandemic this time last year, so a lot of our clients were not actively working or putting out tenders – hence the drop off and increase year on year for those particular months.” Another participant explained that: “The market is still very busy. Many other sectors of the trade being affected by supply chain problems.”
226% Garden designers saw an increase of
175% in enquiries
A 39% INCREASE
in conversion rate was seen by
238% Quotes increased by
on average for nurseries
PROJECTS for commercial landscapers ROSE BY 39%
Turnover in Projects for Scotland and garden designers the North increased by rose by
Projects for design and build companies increased by
75% 74% 153% on average
UK Landscape Barometer.indd 45
A 20% INCREASE IN CONVERSION RATE was seen by domestic landscapers
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 45
Supply shortage special
n March, one year after the start of the first lockdown, it was announced that construction had officially recovered from the COVID-19 fall. Monthly construction jumped by 5.8% in March 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Indeed, since January 2021, the ONS has been reporting rises in construction
46 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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output month-on-month, as has our UK Landscape Barometer. As a result, the raw material market has skyrocketed, placing crucial materials such as timber, steel and copper – alongside a number of other materials like plastics and bricks – in short supply. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has led to drastic material price escalation. The Office for National Statistics has projected a 7 to 8% hike in material prices, with increases for certain materials such as timber expected to more than double during the course of the year. So, what has fuelled this chaos? The main culprit is somewhat predictable. The subsequent lockdowns caused by the pandemic inspired the nation into adopting numerous new hobbies – we all recall the banana bread extravaganza, and the many, many Zoom calls during the first lockdown. Home renovations also became extremely prominent, with garden design being particularly popular. And thus, the demand began. Meanwhile, the production of building materials was drastically affected by the first lockdown after many factories and timber mills were forced to close across the EU. According to
THE PRODUCTION OF BUILDING MATERIALS WAS DRASTICALLY AFFECTED BY THE FIRST LOCKDOWN AFTER MANY FACTORIES AND TIMBER MILLS WERE FORCED TO CLOSE ACROSS THE EU the Construction Leadership Council, around 60% of imported materials used in UK construction projects come from the EU, and since reopening, firms have struggled to catch up as pandemic-related restrictions prevented production, and global demand escalated as economies reopened. This has unfortunately led to an extreme impact on shipping costs. Noble Francis, economics director of the Construction Products Association, says: “The average cost of a 40ft container from China to Northern Europe a year ago was $1,500, but by May 2021 it had risen to $8,300. This is because, after the initial lockdowns, there was a serious logistical issue and a lack of spare container capacity in China and excess container capacity in the West. In addition to this, 2020 saw the decommissioning of a number of container ships. This combined with the sharp recovery in global trade has led to a large demandsupply mismatch currently. The result of this is that it has led to further increases in the costs of imported construction product.”
HAVE YOU HAD TO TURN DOWN WORK BECAUSE OF THE MATERIAL SHORTAGE? 26%
Industrial companies around the world have no choice but to face this surge in high material costs, amid the revival of the demand for goods and services as COVID-19 restrictions are finally relaxed. To the UK, this may feel particularly unusual, especially as we are more than used to having wide access to plentiful stock, with extremely short lead times. So, how is all this aftermath affecting the industry? Well, we asked UK Landscape Barometer participants, and the results speak for themselves. Perhaps surprisingly, only 26% of respondents stated they had to turn down work this year due to the material shortage. Whilst this could be lower than expected, it is a figure which is likely to continue to rise. Indeed, one participant explained: “I’m at the point of refusing work based on the lack of stock.” They’re not the only ones; 100% of the comments received revolved around how difficult things have become and will continue to become. To add to this, suppliers are said to be cancelling contracts and selling to the highest bidder. This is leaving many in a helpless position. “Materials seem to be very random
LEAD TIMES APPEARED TO BE FAIRLY DIVERSE, WITH THE MAJORITY EXPERIENCING A ONETO-TWO-MONTH CHANGE in availability”, said one participant, suggesting stock is being auctioned off due to this
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irregularity. Another participant expressed how important they felt it was to ensure that people work with “trusted, long-term suppliers” which should hopefully avoid this problem. Lead times appeared to be fairly diverse, with the majority experiencing a one-to-twomonth change. Nonetheless, a significant 18% are waiting more than six months for their stock – this is particularly prevalent when it comes to specialist items. This is backed up by this month’s UK Landscape Barometer where average lead times are ranging between three to six months. Unfortunately, this indicates that lead times could be quickly worsening, and participants confidence is down by 47% from the previous month. Demand isn’t slowing down, either. In fact, the survey has reported that the material shortage is set to impact the industry for the next 12 months, with 93% of respondents believing this will trouble them for up to a year. Luckily there is a silver lining. The remarkable demand has provided large increases in turnover across the industry, with an average increase of 114%, according to the UK Landscape Barometer. This provides a great support in helping to keep companies afloat during these difficult times. It’s somewhat bittersweet for those across the country, and under normal circumstances, is unlikely to have occurred. It is clear the construction sector has strengthened due to new appeal for outside space. But the unprecedented levels of demand have placed the UK in an uncertain position for the foreseeable future. Right now, the solution appears to be a lot of forward thinking and communication.
BY HOW MUCH HAS YOUR LEAD TIME CHANGD? 10%
31% 2 weeks
DO YOU EXPECT THE SHORTAGE TO IMPACT YOU FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS? 7%
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AN INDUSTRY SHRUGGED THE SPECTRE OF A WORSENING SHORTAGE OF BUILDING MATERIALS MAY HAVE CAST A SHADOW ACROSS THE UK CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, BUT IN A MONTH IN WHICH UK CONSTRUCTION RECORDED MORE THAN £6.2BN IN NEW CONTRACT AWARDS, THE SECTOR’S POSITIVITY IS HOLDING FAST, SAYS NEIL EDWARDS
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delivering 171 individual projects valued at £2.16bn. And that is yet more positive news for landscaping contractors. Of particular note is an £85m project won by Morgan Sindall’s housebuilding division,
MORE THAN £1BN OF THAT MONTHLY TOTAL COMES FROM THE MAMMOTH HS2 PROJECT – CONSTRUCTION’S ANSWER TO THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS NEAR THE SITE OF THE NEW HS2 INTERCHANGE IN LONDON’S NORTH ACTON, AT OLD OAK COMMON
here was a time in the not-toodistant past when the UK construction industry seemed permanently braced for an inevitable downturn. Market sentiment, political upheaval and economic jitters could send the sector into a tailspin. And if the dreaded word ‘recession’ was mentioned, construction was traditionally at the head of the queue. That was then. This is now. When Brexit threatened to destabilise the British economy, the construction industry soldiered on as if nothing had happened. When the COVID-19 pandemic made landfall in the UK, the construction industry carried on regardless, using its key workers status to actually grow rather than retract. So now, when a shortage of construction materials is considered bad enough to make the TV news and when the UK’s largest builders’ merchant chain is announcing double-digit percentage price increases, it should probably come as no surprise to see the sector shrug its collective shoulders and sneer: “Yeah, whatever.” In a month curtailed by public holidays, the BCLive league table celebrated a further easing of lockdown restrictions, delivering more than £6.2bn in new contract awards. Set against an established norm of £4bn per month, it is just the latest example of positivity and the industry’s unwavering resilience. More than £1bn of that monthly total comes from the mammoth HS2 project – construction’s answer to the gift that keeps on giving – so it will be barely felt by the wider landscaping sector. But, despite that strong showing from the railway sector, the housebuilding sector remains unassailable,
Lovell Partnerships. That contract is for the construction of 528 dwellings at a development called Royal Victoria Court at Newport in Wales and includes extensive landscaping. Away from housebuilding, Winvic Construction reported five new contract awards during the month. The most significant of these is a £248m contract for the construction of a new industrial estate at Dummer in Basingstoke. That project is expected to include extensive landscaping, site reprofiling and drainage works.
In a month in which each of top 16 on the BCLive league table picked up more than £100m in new work, Mulalley Planned Maintenance took the number six position, collecting a 10-year framework deal for the refurbishment and repair of dwellings operated by Lewisham Homes. London retained the top position on the regional round-up with 119 new contract awards valued at almost £1.32bn. However, with £1.13bn and £638m respectively, the West and East Midlands together have a good claim for the top spot. Of course, all these new contract awards have not made the worsening materials shortages vanish miraculously. In truth, they may yet serve to exacerbate the situation. But the majority of the contracts awarded in May 2021 will be unlikely to require materials on site until after the summer. By that time, materials suppliers will have hopefully ramped up production to satisfy the continuing high levels of demand. While that remains a concern for the future, the sector’s present – seemingly against all odds and expectations - continues to look positive.
A B O U T N E I L E DWA R D S Neil Edwards is CEO of Builder’s Conference, the construction industry’s leading trade body. It provides its members to sales leads and market intelligence, as well as statistical data and networking opportunities. BCLive is a real-time league table of construction contract award activity. Operated by the Builders’ Conference, the BCLive league table monitors more than 6,000 new contract awards each year with a combined value of over £80bn. www.buildersconference.co.uk
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C R E AT I N G
THE STYLUS ROOF GARDENS N AT U R A L D I M E N S I O N S AT A C O M M E R C I A L O F F I C E S C H E M E I N W E S T L O N D O N , N AT U R A L D I M E N S I O N S C R E AT E D T H R E E R O O F G A R D E N S W H I C H H E L P E D I N T E G R AT E G R E E N S PA C E W I T H I N T H E B U I L D I N G B L U E P R I N T
lyth Road Roof Gardens are part of The Stylus, a residential and commercial office scheme in Hayes, West London, which was developed after an initial master planning phase to progressively regenerate derelict industrial land to the west of the town centre. Natural Dimensions was delighted to be selected for this ground-breaking project. This hugely ambitious project aimed to integrate extensive green space within the building footprint. It’s now one of London’s largest green roof spaces and provides interior gardens for residents on the first, second and ninth floors. The scheme also provides an extensive ground floor public urban realm between the eastern apartment building and the railway station underpass. The three podium gardens are all interwoven by the same flowing design language. Design The first floor, the largest of the three residents’ communal gardens, is a 1,000m2 podium public garden above the 100 space undercroft parking. The site was formerly related to vinyl record pressing and – especially since designer Nicholas Atherton is a big music fan – Natural Dimensions wanted to bring the influence of music and record playing into the design. Musical metaphors are interwoven into the design language. Strong sound waves run through the curving design, integrating raised planters which express
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £250k Build time 5 months Size of project Three roof gardens • First floor: 1,000m2 • Second floor: 220m2, • Ninth floor: 288m2 Awards Northern Design Award winner 2020
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themselves individually while looking part of a sinuous collective. The geometry reinterprets the language and design of old vinyl record players and creates slightly unpredictable geometric contrasts which remain cohesive. The design also breaks up the linearity of the building, although the colours of the planters, ground surfacing and building facade match up. The second floor sits above the parking entrance backdropped by the adjacent development with views onto the first floor. The ninth-floor garden provides stunning panoramas over the city. The spaces had to look good from above all year round for residents on their balconies so a strong, attractive design geometry was really important. It also needed to be robust and meet stringent health and safety standards. The design creates semi-private spaces for each ground floor apartment, with raised patio planters also contributing to the overall green fabric of the wider social space. The wider gardens allow for formal and informal space, group and individual seating and also an area for play – it’s like a little pocket park. Materials As always with roof projects, materials are determined by an array of factors including weight loading capacity, wind lift and permeability. Surfacing materials are a
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combination of porous bound gravel, composite decking, concrete flags, and synthetic grass mounds. A large band of sedum and wildflower planting runs along one side of the design. Planting The roof gardens set a new standard in podium landscape biodiversity and climate resilience and a strong emphasis on the importance of
green space for residents. Planting had to be carefully considered with lengthy discussions about planting depth requirements and tree locations. The various building heights created a variety of microclimates and the planting had to meet stringent ecological targets set by the local planning authority. The planting palette for the often shady edges of the space were limited to Fatsia japonica, Ilex crenata, Mahonia, Juniper and
small acers with Lonicera planted to climb up partition trellises. In the central beds, more grasses were introduced. Helictotrichon sempervirens, Deschampsia cespitosa, Calamagrostis and Carex combine with Verbena, Achillea, Euphorbias and Anemones. Golden bamboo provides a big screen under the circular pergola. For the trees, Natural Dimensions eventually went for Carpinus and Amelanchier. Extensive sedum planting covers large areas of the roof space, and bird and bat boxes were also incorporated. Challenges The project programme was hampered by many problems and there was a lengthy journey through planning to construction. Natural Dimensions designed the scheme in 2014. The project started on site in 2016, but the initial main contractor went into liquidation during the build and the site lay empty for about two years. The project was eventually re-tendered. Everyone is delighted with the results. The design has really been a hit with the residents and Natural Dimensions were absolutely thrilled that the design won the prestigious Northern Design Award 2020 for best commercial landscape design. It’s a great way to showcase the potential of green infrastructure and roof gardens.
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West end view from stairs to second-floor garden East end view from second-floor apartment East end view from the first-floor podium Diverse planting in raised beds Seating for social spaces First-floor podium viewed from a fourth-floor apartment balcony Photographs ©Maciek Platek
ABOUT NATURAL DIMENSIONS Founded by Nicholas Atherton in 2013, Natural Dimensions is a landscape architecture and urban design studio based in Manchester. Its passion is the creation of well thought out, meaningful spaces and enlightened land planning which creates connections with natural elements and outdoor spaces through diversity, movement, and multi-sensory interactions. Its work encompasses private garden design, public space, roof gardens, public art, landscape planning, street design, city space design, urban master planning and landscape/townscape and visual impact assessment.
REFERENCES Designer Nick Atherton www.naturaldimensions.co.uk Contractor CField Construction www.cfieldconstruction.com Groundworks subcontractor Foran Construction www.foranconstruction.co.uk Planters and furniture Landmark Street furniture www.landmarkstreetfurniture.com Softworks Fletchers Trees www.fletcherstrees.co.uk Gravel Sureset www.sureset.co.uk Concrete flags Marshalls www.marshalls.co.uk Artificial grass Lazylawn www.lazylawn.co.uk
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BORDER ST A N D R E WS , F I F E LEMPSINK GARDEN DESIGN S AT W I T H I N T H E B E A U T I F U L C O A S TA L T O W N OF ST ANDREWS, THESE CLIENTS WERE C O M P L E T E LY R E N O VAT I N G T H E I R H O U S E AND REQUIRED A LARGE BORDER BURSTING W I T H P L A N T S T O M AT C H T H E I R N E W D E S I G N
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n St Andrews, a town located on the East Coast of Fife in Scotland, 10 miles South East of Dundee and 30 miles North East of Edinburgh, this garden needed to match the design and feel of the clients renovated property. Lempsink Garden Design, run by Lisa Lempsink, was required to create a large border in their front garden that would not only give them year-round colour, structure and interest, but also would act as a visual screen so that passers-by wouldn’t be able to see into their house. The clients wanted plants at the back of the border to eventually reach two metres in height and be comprised of flowering shrubs and spring bulbs. Design and build The planting design considered not only the client brief but also the soil and weather conditions, alongside the geographical location of the garden. Due to the garden being right on the coast, the plants were going to have to endure harsh cold winds and salt-laden spray from the sea. Shrubs alone can often give a very stagnant feel to a larger border, with little movement, therefore the suggestion was made to mix these up with ornamental grasses. Situated near the coast, the movement of grasses created by the wind added life. Lisa wanted to not only focus on the texture, but also the different sounds they create. The grasses also add structure and interest in the winter months.
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £5k Build time 5 months Size of project Small/medium planting
Planting was carefully considered, ensuring that it was bird, bee, butterfly and wildlife friendly. The planting design started with evergreens and plants which were to give interest in the winter, these form the backbone of the design. Flowering shrubs known for being robust to coastal conditions such as: Cytisus, Fuchsia ‘Riccartonii’, Lavandula angustifolia and Berberis, were used to create year-round colour, structure and interest. Colourful grasses such as the steely blue Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’, were used for their purple hues which look great in the autumnal months. A pond was to be installed using stone found in the garden, which dated back to the 1920s. The pond liner was sourced from Fawcetts and under-liner was created using old carpets. The pond uses oxygenating plants and a small solar pump to keep the water clear. This worked well, attracting large numbers of birds, along with the combination of 1 Stipa tenuissima, Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Rosea’ 2 Stipa tenuissima, pink & white Erica 3 Fuchsia ‘Mrs Popple’ 4 Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’ 5 Phormium ‘Evening Glow’, Berberis atropurpurea ‘Nana’ Photographs ©Paul Johnston, Copper Mango Ltd
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flowering shrubs, the pond proved to be a strong attraction. Water lilies flower from May to early October. The plants needed to give year-round colour, structure and interest as well as being wildlife friendly. Flowering shrubs which would fare well to the coastal conditions were used, such as Cytisus × boskoopii, more Fuchsia and Lavandula as well as an upright Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Helmond Pillar’. Colourful grasses such as the steely blue Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ and Panicum virgatum ‘Squaw’ with its lovely pink-purple hues in autumn – they even look great with winter frost on them. Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’ looks good in a mass planting at the front of the pond. Challenges A week prior to the planting starting, the clients decided to incorporate a five-meter diameter pond into the central area of the bed. This hadn’t been a requirement for the initial brief, therefore Lisa was concerned as to how the planting plan was going to accommodate the pond. But the clients were happy to work collaboratively with Lisa to find a solution.
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6 Phormium ‘Evening Glow’, Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’ 7 Cytisus x boskoopii ‘Boskoop Ruby’ 8 Azalea ‘Geisha Pink’, Pinus mugo ‘Hesse’ 9 Laburnum anagyroides, Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea Photographs ©Paul Johnston, Copper Mango Ltd
ABOUT LE MPSINK GARDE N DESIGN Lempsink Garden Design was created in 2008 by Lisa Lempsink with the aim of giving clients individual, finely tuned designs, which are practical yet stunning. With a design studio based in central Edinburgh, Lisa Lempsink has a team of craftsman to deliver what their clients require. Whether the clients live in the countryside or the city, want a contemporary or traditional garden, a plantsman’s paradise or a low maintenance haven, Lisa will work collaboratively with them to achieve this.
REFERENCES Plants McLaren’s Nursery www.mclarensnurseries.co.uk R&B Nursery www.randbnursery.co.uk Pond liner Fawcetts Pond Liners www.fawcettsliners.co.uk
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PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £16,750 Build time 3 weeks Size of project 65m2 Awards • APL Category under 20K winner 2021 • 2020 Marshalls Regional Best Patio Transformation under 40m2
EXCELLENCE P E E L ROA D LANDSCAPES 4 LIVING THIS TOWN GARDEN NEEDED TO WORK FOR A VARIETY OF NEEDS WITH VERY LITTLE SPACE TO DO SO
he client’s property was built on the cusp of the Edwardian era and the garden needed to be sympathetic to this. The client still wanted the space to look modern though, with low maintenance planting, space for her child to play football, an area for entertaining and elements woven in which would help extend the use of the space – quite the feat when working with such a small town garden.
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Design and build Before Landscapes 4 Living worked its magic, this client’s garden was a jumble of mess and mud. It’s no surprise then, that the first step of the build involved a mini digger removing the waste – amounting to one and a half grab lorries worth. Next, Landscapes 4 Living began to excavate the wall foundations for the masonry concrete block walls. Once those walls were up, the paving went in alongside coping stones. The slate paving was inspired by the tiles on the client’s roof. Fencing went up next, to give the clients more screening and privacy in an overlooked garden. Landscapes 4 Living offered the clients three fencing options originally – bespoke cedar cladding, soft wood linear trellis painted, and a linear trellis. But when Landscapes 4 Living found some contemporary fencing panels from Forest Fencing, the clients favoured this look. The clean and modern looking fencing makes a statement, with the posts breaking up the linear fencing look. It’s a product and design which Landscapes 4 Living has gone on to recommend several times. Lighting was also a major part of the client’s brief, as they wanted to be able to use the garden late into the evening, to extend their time in the space. Rattan seating was supplied by the clients themselves, but planting borders also double up as a seating area which the clients can perch on when wanting to take in a different area of the garden. Planting The artificial grass and planting went into the garden last. These needed to be fairly low maintenance and with the client’s children playing football in the space regularly, they requested that Landscapes 4 Living put in artificial grass. The client enjoyed flowers in the garden but stated she didn’t like yellows and reds, so Landscapes 4 Living steered clear of this colour palette. Instead, it chose a mixture of white, purple and mauve.
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The completed urban garden space Richly textured Casarta slate from Marshalls Recessed seating spaces with rattan furniture The vibrant lighting scheme in action Raised beds create interest and surround the play lawn The central herb bed up close
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The client was also keen to include herbs in the garden. Thyme, rosemary and a twisted bay tree now sit in a square raised border which sits central in the space. Elsewhere in the garden, box topiary balls and Amelanchier lamarckii grow adding to the overall formal yet soft texture of the planting.
Challenges As with many gardens within towns and cities, access at this property was tight, but Landscape 4 Living’s biggest challenge was storage. The driveway of the property was incredibly narrow – only a single car width – so when storing materials Landscapes 4 Living had to pile them high. The space in the garden was limited too, and so the materials had to be brought in as and when they were needed. A skip also wasn’t able to fit down the tight road which the property sat on, so a grab lorry was used instead – taking up the whole of the road while doing so.
REFERENCES Design and build Landscapes 4 Living www.landscapes4living.co.uk Artificial grass Marshalls www.marshalls.co.uk Paving Marshalls www.marshalls.co.uk Lighting In-Lite www.in-lite.com Fencing Forest Garden www.forestgarden.co.uk
ABOUT LANDSCAPES 4 LIVING Landscapes 4 Living Ltd designs and builds all size projects with the local counties. It prides itself on service and value for money, along with a great team all around. THE GARDEN BEFORE
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Planting Stewarts Garden Centres www.stewarts.co.uk Aggregates and concrete blocks Travis Perkins www.travisperkins.co.uk Topsoil Meon Valley Aggregates www.meonvalley.uk.com
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URBAN GARDENS WE SPEAK TO JOHN WYER OF BOWLES AND WYER ABOUT HOW URBAN GARDENS HAVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS, AS WELL AS WHAT HE WOULD AVOID WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGNING THEM
Have the amount of small domestic urban gardens Bowles and Wyer works on increased over the years? They’ve remained steady over the years. What has changed are the number of roof terrace projects that we do. Awareness of these has increased over the years, as has our reputation for undertaking them. So much so, that we’ve created a department that focuses purely on these, alongside living walls and courtyards. There’s beginning to be more interest in living roofs on flat roof extensions or garden buildings as well. It began as a way for projects to achieve planning permission, but they have the added benefit of extending biodiversity, partly because there’s no human access to them and so they remain an uninterrupted space. What are some of the biggest challenges when designing a small domestic urban garden? The exactness. There’s nowhere to hide in a small garden. If you fudge something up, it’s going to be obvious. There’s no room for error. They’re incredibly challenging spaces to design and you have to do so very carefully. Is there anything you would avoid using? We tend to steer clients away from turf in small gardens full stop. It doesn’t work. If you think of the problems you might face when trying to establish a lawn – lack of sunlight, compaction and therefore poor drainage, overuse in particular areas – in a small garden, you will see those issues all over the lawn. It inevitably concentrates all the problems in one area effectively, so you’re always going to struggle.
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Have you noticed a change in the use of urban gardens over the years? Broadly speaking over a long period, definitely. People’s understanding and expectations of how they’re used has changed. Expectations have increased as a greater proportion of money gets spent on them. A greater proportion of money is spent on add-on elements now – things like pergolas, fire pits, TVs, outdoor kitchens. If you had said outdoor kitchen, clients would have said: “you mean a BBQ?” But now everyone knows about them. People are using their gardens as an extension of their house more. The idea of using gardens as external entertaining spaces was always there and it’s been a growing trend in the past 15 years and that’s accelerated in the last year. Bar areas, for example, had been becoming more popular but lockdown exacerbated this even more.
How do you think they’re going to change in the coming years? I wrote a blog before COVID-19 about communal gardens and how I believe they are the future of urban development. For the time being that doesn’t chime with what we’re all feeling; we all want our own space at the moment! But this will change and community
HAVING LARGE CHUNKS OF HIGH QUALITY LANDSCAPING IN SPACES THAT IS COMMUNALLY SHARED IS THE WAY FORWARD gardens make a lot of sense. In other countries – places like the Netherlands, Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, Cuba – communal outside spaces are deeply embedded in their culture. There’s a lot of sense in having communally used spaces and perhaps a balcony to yourself in terms of usage and how people interact with one another. In cities, everyone can’t have garden, it simply doesn’t work. So having large chunks of high quality landscaping in those spaces that is communally shared is the way forward.
Have you ever used artificial grass? We have very occasionally used artificial grass, but only when it made sense. We created a garden for a child who had a disability and we used a cushioned surface with artificial grass. But that was part of his play space, so it made sense. The arguments around not using artificial grass are sensible and they should be had. You should always look at doing something else instead. Paving is a better solution, or stepping stones through a planted area.
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JOHN GIVES SOME OF HIS TOP TIPS FOR DESIGNING A SMALL DOMESTIC URBAN GARDEN
1. DESIGN IN THREE DIMENSIONS
Every surface counts. The boundaries, the walls of the house, staircases, raised beds – everything. It’s the key to these spaces working. You can’t always develop this on a plan, because its all just lines. You need to think and design in 3D.
People want to use their gardens into the evening, especially if they’re out the house during daylight hours, so lighting plays a hugely important role.
3. DON’T OVERCOMPLICATE THINGS Focus on a small number of elements and make sure the relationship between those elements – how they are organised, how they fit together, the junctions between materials – is really good.
A common mistake can be to start from the boundaries and work in. This results in a lot of rectangular gardens with rectangular lawns and straight beds. We try to establish a separate geometry and give the garden its own rhythm so it doesn’t rely on the boundaries for its energy. This also relates to how you’re looking out from the house. The geometry should pull clients out into the garden; there should be things that aren’t entirely clear, even in a small garden.
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©Bowles & Wyer
4. ESTABLISH A SEPARATE GEOMETRY
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GLADE OF LIGHT MEMORIAL, MANCHESTER
LANDSCAPE A R C H I T EC T ’S
JOURNAL A BCA LANDSCAPE
LIVERPOOL CONNECTIVITY: THE STRAND, VISUALISATION
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WITH 52 REGIONAL AND NATIONAL AWARDS TO ITS NAME, WE SPEAK TO DIRECTOR ANDY THOMSON ABOUT SOME OF BCA LANDSCAPE’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS PROJECTS, INCLUDING ONE WHICH WILL BE CLOSE TO MANY PEOPLE’S HEARTS, THE MANCHESTER ATTACK MEMORIAL
s many will recall, 22 May 2017 was a night to remember for all the wrong reasons. What was supposed to be another successful stop on the UK stint of Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour became a living nightmare when a bomb was detonated at Manchester Arena. The devastating attack claimed 22 lives and injured hundreds. Four years on, after a sensitive and important consultation with family members, those affected, and wider survivor groups, BCA Landscape is helping to commemorate the lives lost and forever changed with a memorial. It is a project which encompasses the company’s values and approach to projects. True collaboration is an important part of the way BCA Landscape works. It is a term that is often employed by landscape architecture practices, but director Andy Thomson believes they take it one step further. “When everyone is under time pressure, it’s quite easy to do your part and pass it on to the next person,” explains Andy. “But we like to sit round a table and have everyone contribute. Sometimes consultants are surprised by the way we work, because it’s not as straightforward. But the interesting work emerges from projects when teams overlap. Be it a graphic designer inputting into the landscape or landscape architect working closely with an architect or an engineer.” For the Manchester Attack Memorial, it was this collaboration with families which had a huge hand in the end design. BCA Landscape knew it didn’t want to create an old school monument, but instead wanted something interactive. It was the families themselves who came up with the concept
of a contemplative garden. Glade of Light will sit in the heart of the city. The living memorial will be bursting full of year-round colour using plants which grow naturally in the UK countryside, inspired in particular by the moors and woodland of the Peak District.
IT WAS VERY MUCH A FAMILIES FIRST PROCESS. IT WAS A HUGELY SENSITIVE AND EMOTIONAL PROJECT AND WE WANTED TO GET IT RIGHT
At the centre of the memorial is a white marble ‘halo’ bearing the names of the 22 who sadly lost their lives set in bronze. These will hold personalised memory capsules containing memories and mementos provided by loved ones. “It was very much a families first process,” Andy explains, “as we developed each part of the design, we went back to them to make sure they approved. It was a hugely sensitive and emotional project and we wanted to get it right.” Though the Manchester Attack Memorial was born from a devastating terror attack, BCA Landscape’s passion for its work and true collaboration enabled it to design not only a beautiful place to reflect, but also a lasting memorial.
GLADE OF LIGHT MEMORIAL, MANCHESTER
It’s a strategy which is brought into each and every project, born from necessity. Right from the outset, in 1983 when the company was formed, it was undertaking landscape architecture work as part of an architecture practise. By the time Andy joined in 1993, the architecture department was feeling the full force of the recession, while the landscape architecture department was thriving. “Eventually it just wasn’t sustainable to work with them alone,” explains Andy, “We had to go and fend for ourselves as it were and bring in our own clients. We naturally started to work with lots of different clients, and soon collaboration became second nature.” One company BCA Landscape has built up a particularly collaborative relationship with over the years is Parkinson Inc and Peel. Recently, they came together to develop an award-winning scheme specifically awarded due to how successfully it blended architecture and the landscape. A post-industrial dockland, Wirral Waters was a hard landscape. This, combined with it still being a working port, meant it was vastly underutilised. Wirral Metropolitan College is the first of many schemes at Wirral Waters for BCA Landscape and Parkinson Inc. Here, they were praised by RIBA judges on the absence of barriers both to the water and around its perimeter. Instead, students, staff and visitors can unwind on urban loungers amongst maritime grasses, looking out at a view framed by red steel structures.
AERIAL VIEW: WIRRAL WATERS
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“Wirral Waters grew very organically,” notes Andy. “We learnt different things from each part of the design and that cascaded down into other part of the project.” One such element is the sustainable drainage systems for which BCA Landscape is creating the masterplan. This will see a number of schemes woven in with the aims of making streets more pedestrian, cycle and tree friendly as well as a new dockland park created which has just started on site.
MADAGASCAR PLAY - CHESTER ZOO
At Chester Zoo, BCA Landscape wanted this collaboration to extend to its end users, too. The creation of Madagascar Play involved an in-depth look into the psychology of play. The aim was to encourage both individual play as well as group interaction, while encouraging imaginary and creative play. Having Madagascar Play at Chester Zoo with a number of staff on hand gave BCA Landscape the scope to include elements which were moveable such as baskets and dams. “These movable elements enable children to learn to manipulate their
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environment which is a key part of their development,” Andy points out. “It’s the sort of things they would do if they were playing in the woods, exploring with den making or climbing trees.” BCA Landscape has mixed these elements with the more formal to ensure it appeals to a huge range of ages. More of their research into the psychology of play explored the idea of risk control. Though BCA Landscape obviously wants to avoid serious injuries, bumps and bruises are beneficial in
CLIENTS ARE STARTING TO LOOK AT USEABLE EXTERNAL SPACES A LOT MORE CLOSELY; A MICROCLIMATE OF ENVIRONMENTS THAT WORK YEAR-ROUND IN OUR CLIMATE
FOREST BATHING POD, LIVERPOOL
teaching children how to react to different situations and learn about their physical abilities. The playground itself allows for this risk play, while seating nearby for parents gives them peace of mind.
THE VOYAGE: CUNARD BUILDING, LIVERPOOL
Play spaces have been moving in this direction for a few years, and now COVID-19 will change how we create our outside
Indeed, another huge change that has come from the pandemic is appreciation of outside spaces. It’s been said a thousand times, but it
spaces once again. “Clients are starting to doesn’t change how remarkable it is. “For look at useable external spaces a lot a few years creating projects which were more closely; a microclimate of sustainable and ecologically positive environments that work year-round felt like an uphill battle. Landscape in our UK climate,” explains Andy. architects were very often a lone This is especially noticeable for voice,” says Andy. “Now it’s more universities wanting to encourage like we’re knocking on an open door. students in lockdown out for some People are listening and its on the fresh air, but the effects can be felt forefront of their minds.” throughout our cities. Certainly, climate change is “When you walk down Castle something BCA Landscape will Street or Bold Street in Liverpool, it never turn away from, knowing the feels like you’re in Spain or Italy with role of landscape architects is to everyone eating outside,” Andy tells push for positive change. “We want us, “It will be interesting to see to make it a win, for the client, the how many people will return inside. planners, the end users and of course, FOREST BATHING POD It’s most likely that it will be weather the environment – because it can be.” dependent, but people are aware that Andy encourages this positivity to echo COVID-19 is less likely to spread outside so through the team as well, believing is results in the streets will continue to be used heavily.” better projects and ultimately a much better work environment that nurtures creativity and collaboration. As it grows in the coming years, BCA Landscape will hold fast to this ethos, enabling everyone to manage a positive work life balance. But what Andy hopes for more than anything is a little bit of normality – whatever that may look like.
C O N TA C T BCA Landscape 19 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 9JQ Tel 0151 242 6161 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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INSPIRE BY ARCHIDEAPHOTO
he ultimate goal when planning any garden is to create an inviting, flexible space in which to relax, unwind and entertain; it’s just a little more challenging in a small area. But size isn’t everything, as the saying goes. Small gardens, patios, and roof terraces can still be stylish, show-stopping, and serene places to retreat to. It’s just a question of being clever with your space and realistic about how much you can comfortably squeeze in. Don’t think small Trying to recreate a large garden in miniature will only make it feel cramped and therefore smaller. It’s tempting in a small space to think small; however, small plants, small pots, small borders, and small decor will have the opposite effect making it feel smaller. In the long run, choosing essential elements will feel more spacious without dominating the space. A less is more approach is best, with a restrained palette of materials and plants often being the most satisfying and successful way to go in a small garden.
LN MASTER LANDSCAPERS ASSOC. OUTDOOR DESIGN
Zones Always treat it as an extension of the indoor space, mirroring their decor and design. Blurring the boundaries of inside and out with bi-fold or sliding doors creates a seamless flow between the areas. Using continuous flooring or matched colour has a space-expanding effect.
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BIG IMPACT IN A SMALL GARDEN
SPACE IS SOMETIMES HARD TO COME BY IN URBAN SETTINGS BUT ANJI CONNELL HAS US COVERED WITH HER TOP DESIGN TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL SPACE Zoning areas by dividing the space into ‘rooms’ and creating various height levels adds interest and gives more surface area while making it feel larger. Adding height can also access a view that may not be visible at ground level. Dig down to create reflective pools, ponds, water rills, and relaxed sunken seating areas; add a fire and ambient lighting for extra cosy vibes and a perfect gathering spot – especially in cooler weather. Add a raised deck for entertaining, or a work from home pod. Access it with a meandering route through the space to evoke a sense of travelling. Add an element of surprise by placing art along the pathway to be ‘discovered’ en route. Replacing decking or paving with tiles is a huge garden trend right now, and it’s a look that works perfectly in smaller gardens. When used on the floor, pattern distracts the eye from the dimensions of the space. Add drama and focal points with sculpture, water features, specimen trees and outdoor fires. Nature Gardens have not always been as green as they appear, but a renewed focus on climate change has more people aiming to create sustainable gardens with minimal harm to the environment.
TUSCULUM RESIDENCE BY SMART DESIGN STUDIO
Invite nature in with lush, naturalistic planting, billowing climbers cascading from ugly fences and walls, and massed container planting replacing fields of flowers. You can also use planting to hide, soften, screen, add interest and texture by playing with differing foliage, sizes, and heights. The plant form and choice of planters will determine the aesthetic – concrete for a contemporary urban aesthetic, terracotta for a more relaxed Mediterranean feel, and traditional for a more classic, formal look.
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Growing plants, small trees, fruit, and vegetables in different-sized pots adds interest and flexibility to create changing displays with seasonal planting, picking up on a renewed grow-your-own trend. Use large plants, hedges, trellis, or fences as screening and climbers. Lawns may prove to be a luxury you can’t afford space-wise. However, if a lawn is on the must-have list, a circular lawn is an easier fit, or try adding a mini lawn on a raised level towards the back of the space.
THE LONDON GARDENER LTD
LANDSCAPE DESIGN BY @VIVIDGREENLANDSCAPES
Clipped box topiary adds an all-year structural element and a bit of drama for short-on-space areas, which are especially effective laid out repetitively. Lighting specific areas and focal points is another way to create interest and spaciousness. Lighting the garden even when it’s not in use provides a backdrop, extends space visually, and adds ambience. If space is especially limited, vertical is the way to go. Walls, garages, the side of a fence are all ripe for living walls. Climbers ensure you are not always looking at fencing or boundary walls. For a romantic country garden look, train beautiful billowy climbers planted in the ground or pots over wires or a trellis. For a more contemporary aesthetic, use professional living wall systems. Living walls mean you can forgo borders leaving more space at ground level for a lawn or patio.
Make sure you read the environment, choose plants that will thrive in the garden’s microclimate, consider sunspots and shaded areas, and soil conditions – right plant, right place. And think how it will look through all four seasons. Privacy A lack of privacy from surrounding buildings is a common problem at ground level and from above. Designing in a tree with some height and a canopy will lend privacy and shade. Covered garden areas add privacy and prolong garden
CLARA SHADE SAILS
use. Pleached trees look amazing and give great privacy against a low dividing wall, hedge, or fence. Using pleached fruit trees adds another element. Planting trees at the edges that grow upwards rather than outwards is another space-saving idea that can also give privacy.
ROSE UNIACKE’S GARDEN WITH THE HELP OF TOM STUART-SMITH
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Colours We can also take advantage of how colours interact with the human eye to create depth. Cool calming colours, such as green, blue, and purple make objects look smaller and farther away, adding visual depth. Warm colours of red, orange, and yellow, make an object appear closer and more prominent.
JENNIFER NEWMAN STUDIO
Mirrors Adding a mirror will instantly make your outdoor space feel bigger. A mirror wall with planting adds depth. Safer mirror choices include stainless steel and acrylic. The time-honoured visual illusion of Trompe L’oeil tricks the eye into perceiving a painting as a three-dimensional object, lending depth and making a great background to planting and seating. Adding interest to the edges of the space will draw the eye across the garden. Storage Don’t forget to make an allowance for garden tools with a concealed space or attractive storage, such as a potting shed, as keeping the garden tidy, well maintained and clutter-free is essential in a small area.
ABOUT ANJI CONNELL Internationally recognised interior architect and landscape designer, Anji Connell, is a detail-obsessed Inchbald graduate, and has been collaborating with artisans and craftsmen to create bespoke and unique interiors for a discerning clientele since 1986. Anji is a stylist, feature writer and lover of all things art and design.
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automate and control every element of their lighting system. Different lighting combinations, scenes and schedules can be created enabling users to achieve the perfect ambience at different times of day or for different occasions. Colour and hue options are also extensive and can be used to enhance outdoor settings. RGB LEDs offer
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I L LU M I N AT I N G DESIGNS
A N T H O N Y PA R K I N S O N O F A N S E L L L I G H T I N G S H A R E S H OW B E ST TO D E S I G N L I G H T I N G I N TO A S C H E M E A N D W H Y I T ’ S V I TA L TO G A R D E N S
16 million different colour options or the use of tunable white LEDs allow colour temperatures to be adjusted, enabling different tones to be set as the natural light changes. The efficiency of this technology also offers significant cost and energy saving advantages. When designing lighting on an outdoor project, begin by undertaking a site design survey to fully understand and identify the main garden areas that require illumination. Consider the buildings, then build features such as pergolas or seating areas before moving onto construction elements and water features
IT’S ALL ABOUT SUBTLE LIGHTING TO ENHANCE THE DESIGN NOT ILLUMINATING EVERYTHING IN SIGHT before finally focusing on natural features such as trees, shrubs, hedges. Once all the possible areas for illumination are identified, take time to review and consider whether the lighting is for safe access and security, to create mood and ambience, for visual impact or simply to improve the aesthetic finish and appearance of the space? It’s worth remembering that when it comes to garden lighting, less is most definitely more. It’s all about subtle lighting to enhance the design not illuminating everything in sight. There is no right or wrong lighting installation, but for it to be effective the correlation of light sources, their geographical position, mounting height, spacing and distance from features should be considered. The intensity and distribution pattern of the lighting as well as the colour should also be decided as should the visibility of the light sources themselves.
This advice will help you along the design process route, but it’s also worth remembering: • Where possible, lighting should be carefully installed and screened from view by plants, shrubs, boulders and objects to minimise and prevent glare. It’s the light produced by the fitting, which is to be seen, rather than the fitting itself. • Don’t position fittings in the vicinity of fast-growing plants or shrubs as these will end up obscuring the light effect that the design had previously created. • Consider user safety. Larger light fittings can create excessive amounts of heat during long periods of operation, so consider their placement – especially if children use the garden. • Remember to always use quality equipment. This will help to prevent equipment issues with corrosion, the ingress of water or short light source life.
ABOUT ANTHONY PARKINSON Anthony joined Ansell Lighting in March 2019 first as a technical engineer and then quickly progressing to technical manager, overseeing the technical team which handles customer queries along with ensuring compliance is maintained for all products supplied worldwide. With a wealth of experience working in the electrical and lighting industry, Anthony is also a qualified electrician. www.anselluk.com
Header image ©Kevin Elias
he importance of lighting in garden design should never be underestimated. Often overlooked or incorporated as an afterthought, lighting is a key component in the design process and when installed effectively can transform an outdoor space. Through our Lighting Design Service, we work closely with designers and landscapers, providing guidance on how to effectively highlight and illuminate design features, enhance safety and security, and create ambience in garden spaces. To bring a garden design to life, combining and implementing a range of lighting techniques should be considered. Up-lighting, for example, gives a very dramatic effect and is ideal for highlighting features such as pergolas or fountains and for making trees and foliage stand out. Down-lighting acts like the moon, lighting areas from above, and is great for illuminating doorways and patio areas. Floodlighting can be used in large areas, whereas ground lighting and step lighting are used to light pathways and multi-level areas. Luminaires can also be used innovatively to create texture and interesting effects such as wall washing, grazing, cross-lighting, mirroring, silhouetting and moonlighting. The emergence of LED lighting and smart technology has infinitely extended the possibilities of outdoor lighting. Operated via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, connected lighting systems such as OCTO allow users to easily
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Photo by Idin Ebrahimi on unsplash Design by vincentdesign.co.uk
Best project I try to look at each project as if I was entering a competition, and picking any out is very difficult when I’ve worked on well over 350 projects. However, two promenades feature – delivered 15 years apart but both memorable in the responses they have engendered from local communities and awards they have attracted. One is on the east Yorkshire coast at Hornsea, the other in Lancashire on the west coast. One helped to revive the economic fortunes of the town, the other also did that whilst protecting 13,000 properties from flood and storm events.
landscape design: “Landscape is the memory of mankind”. Andy Moss was my first boss who I learned a great deal from. Richard Alvey had the faith to promote me into my first senior position and remains a great role model. Finally, Michael Ellison gave me my first job at the PSA in the civil service design arm.
Colleagues I’ve worked with brilliant colleagues through my 30-year career. The current crop never fail to astound me with their creativity and passion. They’re focused and committed, and so many of them inspire me and on a daily basis, that I learn as much from them as I hope they do from me.
Best learning curve Early in my career, I designed the grounds to a 20,000m2 government office complex at Warbreck Hill in Blackpool which entailed numerous internal and external courtyards which were overlooked by many offices. It also contained grand arrival spaces and green space grounds including a small watercourse and a 1,200-space car park, all implemented on a fast-track design and build programme. Seeing the designs emerge and dealing with site issues via the recently introduced fax communications was a steep but significant learning curve. It gave me great confidence in design choices, and I saw a complex project come to life quickly. The work included earthworks and drainage, implementation of a pool and water feature, a Japanese garden, terraced planting and coir matting watercourse bank stabilisation with significant pavement and planting designs, all in a coastal environment.
Mentors Robert Camlin was my favourite tutor at Manchester Poly, with a poetic approach to
High and low points of your career Hornsea promenade’s opening day was a high. We had wonderful comments from residents.
Losing out on St Peter’s Square design competition was one low point. We had got down to the last two, but Latz and Partners were awarded the prize of delivering one of my adopted hometown’s most prestigious public spaces. It did make me realise though that we were capable of competing with the very best.
ANCOATS PARK DESIGN
Leadership style I hope that I am open, collaborative, and responsive. I have to make a lot of quick but hopefully sensible decisions. Creativity influences everything I do. And above all, I try to lead by example. What you hope to achieve in your work during the next 12 months? Create more inspiring and useful places like the Ancoats park speculative design we have produced to increase green space in a growing residential part of Manchester. I want to enthuse and inspire my team and achieve wider acclaim for our work.
A S P R O F E S S I O N A L H E A D O F D I S C I P L I N E FO R L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T EC T U R E AT AT K I N S G L O B A L , S I M O N WA R D H A S A FA I R F E W I M P R E S S I V E P R OJ EC TS U N D E R H I S B E LT. W E F I N D O U T S O M E O F H I S FAVO U R I T E S , A S W E L L A S S O M E O F T H E P EO P L E W H O I N S P I R E H I M M O ST
Hampstead flat in 1985 where I was the first person to see his emerging plans for Moody Gardens in Texas.
People A protestant work ethic from my English mother and a Polish one from my father – an open, tolerant mind from both. My architect Grandad, my artist Great Uncle Harry. Geoffrey Jellicoe, who I was fortunate enough to interview at his
Gardens You can’t beat a grand English garden – Packwood House, Chelsea Physic Garden, Chatsworth House, Biddulph Grange and Castle Howard are all worth a visit in my humble opinion.
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PERSONAL Hobbies I enjoy reading about art and design history and writing. I have written a book about my Polish father’s extraordinary war time experiences. I love to travel and spend time with my friends and family. In my youth I captained my first 11 football and cricket teams and have always enjoyed playing sport. Now I’m happy to go on a long walk or a short cycle ride.
Design tastes These all sprang to mind; Art deco, Eric Ravilious, John Nash, John Sell Cotman landscapes, Dieter Rams, Philippe Starck, Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick, Olafur Eliasson. Most treasured possession(s) My health and my family. Dad’s Second World War medals. Favoured dress style A classic suit. Food Yes please! It would be easier to say what I don’t like. Drink Banks’s Beer from my hometown – Wolverhampton’s finest. An Italian red, an English white, Polish lager.
Most fun you’ve ever had Manchester between 1982 to 1987. The Haçienda nightclub, my design education, meeting the best friends that I still have, and my future wife.
Places you’ve been India, US, UAE, Italy, Poland, Holland, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Germany and North Africa. Places you’d like to go Florence, Jerusalem, New York, Luxor. How you like to travel As much as possible. Locally I walk and cycle, but I also enjoy a long drive and a flight with a window seat.
Favourite continent Europe – it’s all there. It’s also where I’m from and feel most at home. How you like to stay when you’re on holiday? In comfort, close to the sea or wilderness and/or close to some kind of historic centre or city.
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THE FUTURE OF
ST R E E T F U R N I T U R E HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC IMPACTED THE STREET FURNITURE MARKET? LE ADING SUPPLIERS SHARE HOW THE L AST 12 MONTHS HAVE AFFECTED THEM AND WHETHER IT HAS INFLUENCED THEIR PRODUCT LINES GOING FORWARD
“We’ve experienced differing COVID-19 restrictions, with offices and manufacturing facilities throughout Scandinavia, in Germany, the USA and, of course, here in the UK. We’ve been relatively unscathed by the last 12 months with nobody personally affected – thankfully – and our factory has maintained normal production. In fact, 2020 was our best year ever, across every single global market; I would say Brexit has been more of an issue commercially! We’ve seen a few key growth areas – the rapid deployment of parklets and ‘tactical urbanism’ measures in many towns and cities; the move to working (and of course eating) outdoors more than ever before; and a new focus on the value of outdoor spaces that, for years, have been ignored and underfunded. I hope we won’t need to develop new products in light of social distancing as we at Vestre truly hope we’ll be able to live a ‘normal’ life again at some point and that our current product range always has, and always will, support the creation of social and caring meeting places. We have no plans to develop ‘pandemic specific’ products as we feel our current range is sufficiently versatile to adapt to shifting demands. www.vestre.com/uk
BAILEY STREET FURNITURE GROUP
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FURNITUBES “The pandemic has certainly impacted every industry in some way; for us, with construction sites and projects coming to halt along with material shortages and a huge spike in the cost of steel – it’s safe to say our business was affected. But as we manufacture everything in house and purchase our materials in advance, we’ve thankfully avoided issues with supply and have been able to deliver our projects successfully. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to create secure public spaces that people feel safe in. It has forced us to rethink outdoor furniture design for the future – like single use seats and using planters as dividers between seating provision, the addition of arm rests to act as a divider to separate people when sitting. Fortunately, our modular street furniture solutions are designed with well-considered aesthetics and function to quickly modify without compromising on quality. With cycling seeing a huge spike over the past year, we collaborated with Cyclehoop to produce an innovative cycle parking solution for the public realm. We also launched AKRI steel retaining planters, our cost-effective solution for creating raised planting schemes in any public area. www.furnitubes.com
“The pandemic has highlighted how vital it is for everyone to have access to well considered outdoor areas. These are the places we now socialise, eat, play, and even work and it is speculated that this will not change drastically as the restrictions are lifted. The last 12 months have seen a rise in opening up and maximising the potential of the outdoors. In towns and cities biodiverse and sociable green spaces are being dotted around to benefit people and nature. To benefit these areas, in 2020 BSFG launched Inspira, a modular planting system that brings a range of environmental and social benefits to the urban realm. The flexible design of the system makes it ideal for roof terraces, maximising the potential of the space available with bursts of colour, creating an attractive social space with integrated seating. In 2021, BSFG has expanded the range to include Inspira Protect, a reinforced modular planter range that has been tested to IWA 14-1:2013 rating. The system has recently been utilised in expanding outdoor spaces for many establishments along Elizabeth Street in Central London.” www.bsfg.co.uk
THE POPULARITY OF
GLASSHOUSES HARTLEY BOTANIC
ACCORDING TO YOUGOV FOR HTA, 38% OF BRITISH ADULTS SAY THEY USE THEIR GARDEN OR OUTDOOR SPACE TO GROW THEIR OWN HERBS, FRUIT AND VEGETABLES. FOUR GL ASSHOUSE SUPPLIERS E XPL AIN TO US WHY THIS MIGHT BE, WHILE SHOWCASING SOME OF THEIR STUNNING PRODUCTS
Model The Victorian Lodge Size 3.36m x 5.86m x 3.70m Price £POA
The greenhouse is handmade and bespoke with the model pictured designed in olive green with two porch entrances. The Victorian Lodge is ideal for a larger garden and has an imposing porch design and entrance via a hinged door. Integrated cold frames and a glazed partition are optional extras for this greenhouse Have glasshouses become more popular and why? It’s been decades since we’ve seen such an interest in ‘grow your own’ and becoming more self-sufficient amongst those interested in our greenhouses. Throughout lockdown, for many people, growing their own became the right choice for their own health and wellbeing, it also allowed them to feel more secure. Just as lockdown drove an uplift in customers buying glasshouses to ‘grow their own,’ so we predict that the heart-warming prospect of al fresco get-togethers will inspire a surge in orders as people make their gardens a hub for entertaining. WWW.HARTLEY-BOTANIC.CO.UK
Model Modern Plant House in Accoya Size 2438mm x 3187mm Price £9,244 fitted (inc. VAT)
Have glasshouses become more popular and why? The greenhouse market in general seems to be enjoying a resurgence as a new generation of growers have found themselves spending more time at home as a direct consequence of COVID-19. There’s been an exodus from towns and cities in favour of somewhere more rural with space for a garden and perhaps even a greenhouse. Let’s face it, trips to the supermarkets are less enjoyable. So, it’s not surprising more of us are choosing to grow our own fresh fruit, vegetables and salads and a cultivar greenhouse ensures you do this in style. WWW.CULTIVARGREENHOUSES.CO.UK
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Model Rosemary, Victorian glasshouse Size 3m x 4.9m Price £26,700 (inc. VAT)
Rosemary is consistently the most popular Victorian glasshouses in the National Garden Scheme Collection. This is due to its full porch entrance and its size which lends itself to having a small table and chairs as well as plenty of space to grow plants. Have glasshouses become more popular and why? Griffin Glasshouses has seen unprecedented enquiries and orders since the start of the pandemic. This is mainly due to people spending more time in their homes and gardens, not being able to go on holidays or out for meals and therefore not spending on leisure activities as usual. In many cases, they are getting around to doing projects that have been on the back burner. Grow your own has taken off and many people want a beautiful glasshouse to grow their produce and enhance their garden. WWW.GRIFFINGLASSHOUSES.COM
Model The Croft Size 2268mm x 2984mm Price £11,425 (inc. VAT)
One of three standard buildings that we offer alongside our bespoke business, The Croft is proving particularly popular currently. The porch or dormer style entrance enables us to position the door of the greenhouse in the longer side without the need to excessively raise the height of the roof. Have glasshouses become more popular and why? A huge surge in enquiries shows no signs of abating. Most of our customers are seasoned gardeners, not especially influenced by grow-your-own as a trend – they are already on board. But it’s clear that more people now have a desire to spend on quality products for the garden. We also recognise the role gardening plays in everyone’s wellbeing and we expect new gardeners to go on to demand more premium tools, including the greenhouse, in years to come. WWW.WHITECOTTAGE.CO.UK
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Strulch was developed at Leeds 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. 13.5k bags of Strulch are available on pallets of 12, 25 or 48 bags. Delivered within 4 working days. Trade discounts available
Pleaching - Topiary - Hedging Specimen Trees & Shrubs www.griffinnurseries.co.uk email@example.com
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F E AT U R E GARDEN WHITEBEAMS
HAVING SENSITIVELY MAINTAINED WHITEBEAMS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, EARTHSTONE LANDSCAPES RECENTLY WON AN APL AWARD FOR ITS HARD WORK AND DEDICATION. DIRECTORS IAN DAY AND ALISON COXHEAD EXPLORE THE GARDEN WITH US, EXPLAINING HOW THEY WERE ABLE TO PRESERVE THE FLAVOUR OF THE ORIGINAL GARDEN, WHILE IMPROVING UPON WHAT WAS ALREADY THERE
hitebeams came to John and Kati Westwood in 1985. The property was a huge restoration project which didn’t stop at the back door. The two acres of garden were made up of a plethora of mature trees, and shrubs. Kati’s first move was to set about developing borders around these, but something made this particularly challenging – the site’s chalky soil. 20cm below the soil, Kati required a pickaxe to make enough room for compost and the roots of the new planting. Gradually, though, she sculptured it into a haven. Earthstone Landscapes is a design, build and maintenance company based in Kent. Ian, Alison and their team were first introduced to Whitebeams a year after the devastating passing of Kati. Understandably, John had put the garden on the backburner, but the weeds had taken full advantage of this. Earthstone Landscapes spent the next year uncovering the garden – literally
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and metaphorically. “We spent the first year getting on top of everything whilst trying to learn what plants were in the garden,” explains Alison. “It was really important that we were careful not to remove anything or change too much, because the garden obviously means a huge amount to Mr Westwood; we wanted to preserve it.” Today there is a team of five gardeners who visit Whitebeams; on average this means two members of staff undertaking 8 to 13 hours of work a week. The approach to the garden hasn’t changed, though; Earthstone is still very much respectful of the legacy that Kati left. Re-established borders are bursting with Rosa 'Geranium' (moyesii hybrid) inspired by a visit to Sissinghurst Castle Garden, single red geraniums, a large deep purple Cercis that has 1 View across the garden and seating area 2 Iris 'Indian Summer'
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been allowed to grow and follow its natural shape. Spilling out from these borders are large groups of tall, colourful Iris. Primroses were originally propagated and introduced into the garden by Kati. As these spread naturally, they were dug out of the beds and placed into John’s wildflower meadow where they now thrive. The garden didn’t always showcase this wildlife sanctum, though.
As one of his main jobs in the garden, John was looking for ways to cut down on mowing and thus, he began the process of reducing areas of lawn by installing wildflower meadows. Though it has taken many years for these to establish, there is now a healthy balance and succession of species which is cut down each Autumn to encourage flowers and grasses. Leucanthemum vulgare (or ox-eye daisies) are a main feature of these meadows during the summer months. These are a naturally occurring flower that has been allowed to flourish and develop naturally over many years. Some years ago, John set out to introduce Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) into the garden. For several springs running, he sowed the seeds with no success. It wasn’t until he sowed them in the autumn that they finally took, with the winter cold spell encouraging the
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seeds to germinate. Among these plants is a Anacamptis pyramidalis (pyramidal orchid) which grows up to 55cm. Attracting a range of butterflies and moths, its densely packed pink flower spike holds up to 100 flowers. Unable to store enough food to grow on their own, orchid seeds team up with a mat-forming fungus in the soil. In turn, the orchid’s roots protect the fungus. “Instead of trying to fight nature, he decided to work with it,” explains Alison. “All staff are aware that we need to stick to the sides of the beds when walking through at any time of year to avoid damaging any protruding wildflowers or orchids.” Some of these orchids that are more regularly spotted include Orchis purpurea, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Orchis mascula and Dactylorhiza fuchsii.
THE GARDEN OBVIOUSLY MEANS A HUGE AMOUNT TO MR WESTWOOD; WE WANTED TO PRESERVE IT Behind the garden is what’s affectionately called “Badger City”, with 11 badgers once spotted. This has caused some problems in the past, with a group of hungry badgers taking down a stunning mass of tulips. Despite this, they are still welcomed into the garden alongside wild deer and stags and foxes. Certainly, wildlife takes a priority at Whitebeams. “The garden is peaceful, beautiful and at one with nature. There are various beds and borders around the garden, but it’s difficult to see where the garden boundary ends, and the surrounding countryside begins.”
And it hasn’t stopped plants from thriving. In the woods surrounding Whitebeams is a rare UK orchid – Orchis purpurea. Preferring chalky or alkaline soil, it blooms at Whitebeams late April to June, though this year the flowers held off until early June. It’s not hard to see why Earthstone Landscapes was reluctant to change much of the garden, and not just for sentimental reasons. But it has made changes. The biggest of which is without a doubt the introduction of mulching. Enormous amounts of mushroom compost – several lorry loads, in fact – have been placed into the beds every year since Earthstone Landscapes began maintaining the garden. And, though mushroom compost is heavily alkaline, Alison believes its benefits far outweigh any problems that the additional alkaline may introduce: “The pH level can’t get much higher due to the existing chalk bed rock. The manure that the mushrooms have been grown in is a great, cost effective addition for the plants,” she notes. “The mulching adds nutrients to the soil, helps and introduces microorganisms, retains moisture, assists with keeping the weeds down and looks good.” Some of the beds still get mulched with manure, such as the rose and hydrangea beds, and other plants which prefer a more acidic condition are mulched with ericaceous compost.
Set on the boundaries of the garden is 16 acres of woodland owned by the Westwoods. The storm of 1987 damaged many estates, but due to Whitebeams solid layer of chalk underneath the soil, its trees are shallow rooted and it lost a whopping 150 mature trees. The storm wasn’t the only disaster to take out the
woodland’s trees, though. Ash dieback has become a rampant issue throughout the garden. The team are acting quickly and remaining positive: “Several large trees had to be removed and recently we have felled a number of small
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trees that were showing signs of the disease to avoid any further infection,” explains Alison, “This has opened up a new area in the garden and it will be interesting to see what now comes up.”
WE HOPE THAT MAINTENANCE WILL BECOME MORE VALUED AS AN OCCUPATION Over the years, the Westwood's have managed the woodland by coppicing and infilling trees but mainly by allowing it to do its own thing. Earthstone Landscapes recently cleared low hanging branches and ivy from the trees, though in order to allow the primroses to be visible from the house and the woodland floor to see more sunlight. It’s not surprising then that Earthstone Landscapes won an APL Award for maintenance this year for its work at Whitebeams. It’s an award that was undoubtably an enormous achievement for the company. And while its fully embracing what the accolade means for the company, Earthstone Landscapes hopes it will be so much more.
“We all work very hard and take pride in our job, so to win the award meant a huge amount to us,” explains Alison. “We hope that maintenance will become more valued as an occupation. There aren’t that many awards out there for it, so the APL’s one is even more brilliant. Hopefully now that gardening is becoming more popular the general public will begin to understand and value the knowledge and planning that is required to achieve maintenance at a high standard.” Earthstone Landscape’s have demonstrated the ability to sensitively maintain the legacy left by Kati while restoring the garden so it still works for nature and showcases standout plants. It will be exciting to see how Whitebeams grows over the coming years, especially given the rising interest in fantastically maintained gardens in the wake of a pandemic that has led more people than ever to value green spaces like this one. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Bonsai collection View across the garden Fritillaria meleagris (snake's head fritillary) Dactylorhiza fuchsii (spotted orchid) Pond with a strong newt population Alliums and extended view across the fields Rosa rugosa 'Rubra' Directors Ian Day and Alison Coxhead Primular vulgaris covering the woodland floor
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URBAN JUNGLE GREENING TOWNS AND CITIES EXTENDS BEYOND PUBLIC PARKS, SAYS LEWIS NORMAND
n contrast to increasing societal norms, where our population moves more and more towards cities over rural locations, I find myself drawn towards the countryside. That’s just me though, and as more and more of us move into built up areas, it is pleasing to see how urban greening has become an ever-increasing issue. At present, we have an interesting parallel with the individual and the planners, both working independently on a similar goal – planting space for myriad benefits. We want our town planners and urban developers to embrace a horticulturally-friendly approach to construction. We can also, as individuals, green our personal space. We might even act out with the system and become guerrilla gardeners, greening areas that have been ignored or poorly managed. One of the benefits of recent lockdowns (and I appreciate that they may be hard to find for many reading) has been to encourage us as individuals to embrace our planted and plantable spaces, with a staggering 3.5 million new gardeners getting their hands dirty and their creative juices flowing as a result of the pandemic. In more urban areas, this may mean we are potentially entirely focused on indoor space, but this has driven a huge booming progression in the indoor plant nursery industry and in Instagram followers for houseplant enthusiasts. While many other nurseries sadly
struggled to find ways to operate in lockdown and latterly the government failed to recognise the difference between a nursery and garden centre, houseplant growers across Europe were doing big business.
WE WANT OUR TOWN PLANNERS AND URBAN DEVELOPERS TO EMBRACE A HORTICULTURALLY-FRIENDLY APPROACH TO CONSTRUCTION If a plant could be boxed and delivered it was free game, and lots of new web-based houseplant retailers with simple-to-follow, undaunting advice made capital on the demand from us stuck at home looking to green our space. The untold mental health benefits will ensure that this houseplant revolution will continue. This urban greening is more about personal happiness (no bad thing) than it is about environmental benefit; but a desire to drive urban greening has an appetite greater than ever before. Companies like Cityscapes and Trees for Cities have been producing wonderful urban gardens and plantings for years now, breathing life into in a range of spaces that might otherwise never see plants. I was lucky enough to work with Cityscapes on a pocket park outside the Greenwood Theatre by London Bridge Station a few years
ago. Designed by Joe Swift and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, this transformed an area outside the theatre into a lush, wildlife-friendly, diversely-planted space. The plan that Team London Bridge has is to create a near unbroken green walkway through the London Bridge area. This plan has flavours of the High Line in New York; in fact, one of the projects is called The Low Line and another The Green Grid, but is utilising actively walked, primarily ground level spaces and improving them horticulturally and practically, which is fantastic. I feel, as a country, that we do a pretty good job with our public parks. They are increasingly underfunded, which I really hope will change, and their existence for many non-garden owners during 2020 should never be forgotten. What I hope is that we really target not just arbitrary tree planting to tick a box with voters and offset some carbon, but that we look to planners and passionate individuals for opportunities to bring our countryside, or even some exotic planting, to our urban spaces. The visual appeal is obvious to all, the psychological appeal less so, but no less important. The environmental benefits, from air purification to reduction in heat and even building heat loss, wildlife habitat and food creation and urban agriculture, are all priorities of our future needs and should be similarly important in our planning agendas. If we, as individuals, can make a living space in a small flat a diversely planted 3D landscape, we can better utilise our buildings, pavements and unused space, to make planted urban space more than just public parks.
ABOUT LEWIS NORMAND Lewis has worked in a wide variety of roles within horticulture over a 20-year career. He has lectured on garden design and horticulture, and designed gardens in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Since 2011, Lewis has focused on nursery sales, now working as sales manager at Bernhard’s Nurseries, and has helped to launch a number of new plants into the UK plant market. He is a specialist supplier to show gardens, supplying more than 100 gardens at major shows.
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GREENER WILL BIODIVERSITY NET GAIN MAKE A BIG ENOUGH DIFFERENCE? NICK COSLETT HAS HIS DOUBTS
ne of the aims of the government’s 25-year plan and the Environment Bill currently in Parliament is to restore nature and make places better for wildlife recovery and increase biodiversity. Worthy objectives. Biodiversity is what gives our planet resilience, and in the words of David Attenborough, we don’t just need to save or protect species but whole ecosystems and all their biodiversity. Amongst the proposals in the Environment Bill due to become statute is a mandatory and legally binding uplift of biodiversity by a minimum of 10% from what was existing before a site is developed. This benchmark is measured at the point of applying for planning. It will become an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act. It's called a biodiversity net gain (BNG), and it will apply to all developments where planning applications are required. The only exemptions are those major projects of National Significance (such as the Swanscombe Peninsula’s London Resort discussed last month) and those of permitted development. Primarily aimed at larger developments – i.e., over one hectare which comprise some 14% of all planning applications – the smaller developments of under one hectare, or nine or fewer properties, will also be required to show a BNG but full details are now overdue of their proposed publishing date of early 2021.
Developers will have to benchmark their site’s biodiversity value by entering the site characteristics – areas of habitat types, such as: woodland, hedgerow, grassland and wetland (all with sub-divisions such as unimproved, acid, neutral, upland/lowland grassland) – into a complex biodiversity metric spreadsheet (beta 2.0 is about to be replaced by version 3.0). This will give the site a biodiversity score
PLANNERS ALREADY ARE UNDER-RESOURCED TO SEE THAT PLANNING CONDITIONS, ESPECIALLY FOR LANDSCAPE WORK, ARE EFFECTIVELY POLICED ONCE APPROVAL IS GIVEN or value and will need to be carried out by a suitably qualified ecologist or landscape professional. Then the proposed postdevelopment characteristics are inputted to get a post development score, and this is where a +10% needs to be achieved to obtain planning permission. Proposals can be adapted and re-entered to hit targets. Developers can aim for a larger BNG if they wish. Will it work? It does not include or encourage the carbon offsetting, rainfall attenuation and
biophilic benefits that green space offers; but its enforcement will be by planning departments who have seen a 38% drop in financial resources since 2010 and at least a 15% drop in staff. Few local authorities now directly employ an ecologist or landscape architect on hand to advise planners on day-to-day matters. Yes, departments may well outsource work to the private sector (which itself has its limits) but this will be for the more significant projects and not the day to day. Planners already are under-resourced to see that planning conditions, especially for landscape work, are effectively policed once approval is given. Developers don’t always stick to the script! So, whilst BNG is a great concept, are there the resources to see it properly through? I hope it’s not greenwash. What is to stop developers sanitising their sites and lowering its biodiversity, through spraying or mowing vegetation and so making a 10% uplift an easy target? The rules to protect hedges from being cut down in the nesting months of March to August and the felling of trees don’t consistently work (see photos). The felling of a TPO-protected redwood in Swansea in 2018 was perhaps an exception, with the developer fined £300k and the tree surgeon fined £120k. Excuse my cynicism, but I feel more is spent on newt fencing than on the landscape and especially soft landscaping. I really hope BNG can encourage designers and developers to enhance sites, make space for and encourage wildlife and biodiversity.
ABOUT NICK COSLETT
RING BARKED TREES
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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.
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S M ART SO LUTIONS OUR PLANT KNOWLEDGE NEEDS TO EXPAND TO GET THE BEST RESULTS FROM URBAN GREENING, SAYS NOEL KINGSBURY
e are changing the way we look at and plan our urban environments. Where once planners and architects reigned supreme, those in the middle – the landscape profession – are staking their claim to be perhaps the best at making the connections between the city as a whole and the intimacy of communities. The idea of ‘landscape urbanism’ puts landscape first, so instead of seeing landscape as the ‘bits between the buildings’ it becomes an overall integrating concept. I would argue that plants and vegetation should play a central role here, so that greenery is not just a nice add-on but something completely integral, so that planting – from parks down to traffic islands – is seen as part of an integrated whole. Singapore provides a model for one way of doing this, with all green space, from nature reserves down to what grows at the bottom of street trees, under the same authority – so maximising joined-up thinking.
Climate change could well drive a whole series of measures to re-vegetate cities, which would benefit from thinking that integrates all scales. The best way to absorb CO2 is through plants, which can also play a major role in
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removing pollutants from the atmosphere, such as smog-causing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and dust particles, including the harmful nano-particles from diesel exhausts. Contemporary landscape planning increasingly sees planting as not just boxed into parks and
CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE PLANNING INCREASINGLY SEES PLANTING AS NOT JUST BOXED INTO PARKS AND THE MIDDLE OF ROUNDABOUTS BUT WOVEN INTO THE VERY FABRIC OF STREETS the middle of roundabouts but woven into the very fabric of streets. ‘Sheffield’s Grey to Green’ strategy is a wonderful example here, bringing an amazing amount of floral diversity into the heart of the city. Plants, unlike paving and street furniture, tend to get bigger with time, which is pointing out the obvious but helps explain why many design professionals are wary of them and play safe. Narrow street trees that fit tamely into visualisations are all too often the result. We’ll all need more shade in the future, so there will be a need for the opposite – widespreading canopy trees, which don’t just fit onto the plan or a visualisation as yet another element but demand more integrated thinking about how they interact with buildings, traffic and signage. Vegetation will increasingly seep into new places as we realise the benefits of using it for environmental amelioration, as with
green roofs, climber-covered walls and SuDS schemes (notice that I’m not adding gimmicky living walls here). Plant selection and variety development needs to be far more functional. So much R&D effort in the nursery industry goes into trivial gimmicks for garden centre sales. We need a focus on issues such as: low-allergen cultivars, stability and branch strength, response to pruning, longevity, disease-resistance, decay characteristics of fallen leaves. There are some issues we need to resolve too, such as how much we value having native species over the sheer functionality of certain introduced ones. Or what the costs are of relying on cultivars, with uniform and predictable outcomes but whose populations are inherently much more vulnerable to disease outbreaks? What about the trade-off between using species with high public acceptance but short lifespans as against less attractive but more durable ones? How much should we have wildlifefriendly vegetation that may be difficult for most members of the public to appreciate? Decision-making needs the fuel of data, and professionals with wide plant knowledge tend to be rare, but technology is slowly coming to the rescue with plant specification being aided by an increasing number of apps and databases. The cities of the future will need to be greener, and our profession will need to know more about how to integrate plants into all aspects of their work.
ABOUT NOEL KINGSBURY Noel Kingsbury is a freelance designer, writer and researcher who has long promoted naturalistic planting design. He also teaches at Boston Architectural College.
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T RE E P L A N T ING M TA R G E TS y three previous articles have focused on the benefits and public goods provided by trees. Tree planting is now widely accepted politically, at both national and local level, as a public good and as being a critical element in climate change mitigation. Ambitious tree planting goals are catapulted into the public domain often without any sound evidence base to support their potential success. The recognition of trees and the benefits they provide, and the increased focus on planting more trees, is to be welcomed and arguably long overdue. There is an increased awareness of the need to diversify our tree populations to increase their resilience and ability to meet the challenges of factors such as climate change and imported pest and disease. Simultaneously, and linked to the question of diversity, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of biosecurity. The injudicious planting of imported tree stock direct into the indigenous landscape has led to the spread of pests such as oak processionary moth and contributed to the almost universal spread of ash dieback in the UK. This increased awareness of the importance of biosecurity has increased the focus on the need for home grown trees which have not been imported to be planted directly into the UK landscape.
From this scenario a whole series of contradictions arise. Where contradictions arise against a negative background it is easy to be critical, but in the current situation where there is an increased awareness and demand for tree planting, an awareness of the importance of biosecurity and political support for increasing canopy cover it is more difficult. All of the above perspectives are interlinked, essentially positive and to be welcomed. Yet, there has to be some degree of realism and pragmatism if ambitious goals are to be met.
THERE HAS TO BE SOME DEGREE OF REALISM AND PRAGMATISM IF AMBITIOUS GOALS ARE TO BE MET The government’s welcome initiative and commitment to plant an additional 100,000 new urban trees over a two-year period – which commences this planting season through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund – coupled with initiatives from many local authorities and other landowners has resulted in a position where
KEITH SACRE STARTS A NEW THREE-PART SERIES ON THE CONFLICTS OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND
demand is now beginning to exceed supply in terms of what the UK industry can sensibly supply. From this it is obvious that the deficit, if the ambitious planting plans are to be achieved, must be met from somewhere and this inevitably increases the pressure to import trees with a subsequent increased risk of importing pest and/or disease. The European market is equally stressed as the increased demand is not limited to the UK alone. Similar planting initiatives can be found and are being implemented across Europe and further. The work of Defra, The Forestry Commission and others in recent years, with regard to the biosecurity of the UK’s tree population, has been commendable. The introduction of the 'Plant Healthy Certification Scheme’ should increase awareness, strengthen the position of those who specify trees and make it possible for the judicious to ensure bio-secure pathways into the UK. This will of course not regulate the maverick or the private individual bringing a few plants back from the continent in the boot of their car with the inherent accompanying risk of diseases such as Xylella travelling as well. Essentially, regulation and certification are still going to be defined by the action of individuals and their integrity.
ABOUT KEITH SACRE Keith has more than 20 years’ experience in local government as nursery, parks and operations manager. He is currently arboricultural and urban forest director at Barcham Trees – the largest container tree nursery in Europe – past chair of the Arboricultural Association and trustee of the Trees and Design Action Group. Keith is a member of the Chartered Institute of Foresters and a chartered arborist. He has an MSc Arb, BSc in Social Science and BSc Arboriculture.
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GREEN ROOF DAY AND THE NEW GRO CODE
We speak to Green Roof Organisation (GRO), a focus group for the UK green roof industry and in more recent years member run trade association, about Green Roof Day and its new GRO code. What is Green Roof Day all about? #WGRD2021 was the second event following last year’s inaugural event where 57 countries used the power of social media to share images and information on green roof projects to showcase the best of the what the world green roof industry can offer. It is also a way to show how they can be used to address issues such as climate change and biodiversity needs.
THE GROWTH OF
G R E E N R O O F S A R E P O P P I N G U P A L L OV E R LO N D O N , B U T H OW P O P U L A R A R E T H E Y O U TS I D E O F O U R C A P I TA L , H OW A R E T H E Y B E I N G U S E D, A N D W H AT D O E S T H E F U T U R E H O L D FO R T H E M
London’s green roofs in particular have been spreading across its skyline. According to report produced by the European Federation of Green Roofs and Walls (EFB), and Livingroofs. org, they take up a total area equal to 1.5 million square metres of Greater London. In fact, in 2017, London was installing 42% of all UK green roofs delivered according to the UK Green Roof Market Report. But is this changing?
MOST RECENTLY HOSPITALITY CLIENTS HAVE MAXIMISED EVERY BIT OF OUTDOOR SPACE AND PREVIOUSLY UNUSED BALCONIES ©Frans Blok/Shutterstock.com
reen roofs are soaring. According to the UK Green Roof Market Report, they have an annual market growth of 17.1% a whopping figure, but perhaps unsurprising considering their benefits. “The benefits for biodiversity can be huge, even within a small green roof scheme. From a health and wellbeing perspective there is plenty of data out there proving the benefits of being out in nature and the last year has magnified this.” explains Mark Wood business development director at Green-tech who is a member of Green Roof Organisation. NAO Landscapes has certainly seen a significant increase in roof garden build enquires, “Where space is short, creating a roof garden adds real drama and excitement. Not only is the use of outside space more critical but with impressive views and innovative planting and materials, a green space in a previously unexpected location becomes a real destination and has great marketing pulling power.”
What is the GRO Code of Best Practise? The GRO Code has been developed to ensure the green roof market delivers high quality green roofs built for the environment. What changes will the updated code see? The new code builds on previous editions and recognises changes in the industry over recent years, incorporating blue roofs and bio solar roofs for the first time. Updated fire regulations along with alternative green roof systems such as modular and cassette systems are also featured.
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Though over the last few years NAO Landscapes has been working on inner city roof gardens, this trend has now extended beyond the city where it is seeing green roofs used to add wow factor to new builds and communal green spaces. Tony Woods, director of Garden Club London, has seen green roofs move beyond London too: “Our most recent roof garden completion was in Cardiff, and we receive lots of enquiries from all around the UK.”
Mark Woods believed there’s another factor adding to their growth: “We see some fantastic green roof projects being designed regularly throughout the country, the introduction of the metro mayors (combined authority mayors) and updated urban greening initiatives are certainly helping with this.” Alongside their changing locations, how we use green roofs might be shifting too. “Most recently, hospitality clients have maximised every bit of outdoor space and previously unused balconies,” explains Tony, “roof spaces have been ‘Greened Up’, had upgrades to structural elements to meet fire regulations and building control requirements to allow for public access.” It is perhaps unsurprising that Mark believes this is down to COVID-19. “The pandemic has certainly resulted in the hospitality industry having to utilise what open space they had available, and a green roof is perfect for that use.” The growing green roof trend is showing no signs of slowing. While this is a great result for nature, Tony is wary about the practicalities: “The ongoing issue will be weight loadings, even on new buildings. Architects and developers simply are not allowing for adequate weight loading of hard landscape materials, saturated soil and people. “We are working with more architects at an early stage and more clients are aware of the requirements for creating a roof garden and the full process involved from planning permission to ongoing care.” So knowledge may be lacking still, but with companies pushing best practise and educating from day one, and organisations such as Green Roof Organisation producing codes of best practise, hopefully knowledge will soon spread – perhaps as fast as the roof gardens themselves.
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TWO DECADES OF SOIL CELLS A S G R E E N B LU E U R B A N C E L E B R AT E S 2 0 Y E A R S S I N C E I TS F I R ST S O I L C E L L WA S C R E AT E D, C E O D E A N B OW I E E X P L A I N S H OW T H E T E C H N O LO GY H A S D E V E LO P E D I N TO T H E L AT E ST A D D I T I O N TO T H E R A N G E – R O OTS PAC E How and why was GreenBlue Urban’s soil cell first produced? The quickest answer is because trees needed them – but there’s more to it than that, of course. When we started GreenBlue Urban, the company’s name was Greenleaf, and the whole North Star of that business was trees surviving in urban spaces. We noticed two bands of premature tree mortality; The first was the establishment phase which led to the initial products to market, irrigation, root management and so on, while the second phase was between eight and 12 years. The challenge was that trees were not getting enough access to un-compacted soil. So, that’s why the soil cells were developed – to provide a structure to protect soil to allow roots to grow through. At that time, we had GrassRings, a grid to support grass root growth; we thought if that principle could work for grass roots, we could scale it up to work for trees. The RootCell was produced in 2001 – it was the world’s first commercial soil cell for tree root growth in towns and cities. How has it developed over the last 20 years? Hugely. What we proved with our soil cell trials initially was scaling up the GrassRing concept worked – we could have a structure beneath the paving that would provide a root-friendly environment. So, we sold the RootCell for a number of years, and we still sell it now for some applications. Then we scaled up to the StrataCell, a bigger soil cell with more room for roots to grow. We then
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progressed to the RootSpace system which gathered up everything we’d learnt about soil cell technology into the present generation product. The RootSpace is class-leading in its technology. What are the benefits of using soil cells? Providing un-compacted soil for tree root growth was the primary driver, but we discovered more recently how that soil can also be used for stormwater intervention as well. So, when we’re creating a large-scale tree pit, we’re also building in stormwater resilience.
What makes GreenBlue Urban’s soil cell such a unique product? The current generation RootSpace is a very unique system. It’s got the highest soil void ratio – the available soil volume for a tree’s roots to grow into – of any soil cell in the market, at 97%. So, when we excavate a tree pit in an urban area, so much of it is available for the tree to use. Then there’s the aeration cap to allow the soil to breathe and water to distribute itself over the tree pit evenly. Also, it’s a panel system, so its very efficient for freight, keeping the costs down for contractors. And, of course, it’s the only soil system to be manufactured in the UK. What is the environmental impact of the soil cells? As the leading supplier of urban tree plating products, our whole manufacturing process has
to align with that; there’s no point us selling products to help trees grow if elsewhere we’re causing damage. Our soil cells are made from recycled/recyclable materials, we even offer RootSpace Ocean made from marine waste. Single-use plastics have sparked a huge amount of negative publicity against plastic, which I understand. But what we’re doing with plastics and the circular economy has a huge environmental net gain because we’re enabling trees to grow in urban areas where they’re badly needed. Which products now make up the company’s range of soil cells? We’re using less and less of the original RootCell; it’s mainly used where you can’t use bigger cells, or where you might be providing a root path. The StrataCell, launched in 2007, has a 60t per square metre loading capability, the highest of any soil cell, so it’s mainly used for applications where heavy goods vehicles are going over the top. The RootSpace, which was developed in 2015, is being used in exciting projects across the globe. It comes in different heights and it’s a very flexible, modular system, so it’s becoming our mainstay product.
C O N TA C T GreenBlue Urban Northpoint, Compass Park, Junction Road, Bodiam, TN32 5BS Tel: 01580 830 800 firstname.lastname@example.org
s a company, we have been blending soils for well over a decade now, and it has been a while since soils and the project growing media were considered a project afterthought and “dirt was dirt”. For the good of the industry, soils and substrates now face the same level of scrutiny as every other part of a landscaping scheme, and we are faced with an increasing level of diverse applications that require bespoke blends and have specific performance criteria. Long may it continue! When it comes to rainwater management and the realm of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), there has never been more of a focus on soil and substrate performance than now. It is simply not enough for a soil to make nutrients available to the incumbent plant; it must also move water through the rootzone at a rate desirable to the particular performance criteria set out by the designer or architect. We expect a lot from our materials now, and the challenge is to create blends that not only perform in the laboratory, but also out in the field when conditions become less desirable. Roof gardens are an important part of SuDS (shout to World Green Roof Day, which took place on 6 June) and green infrastructure and that brings the bulk density of soils and substrates into play, as an additional metric. We must ensure weight loading limits are adhered to, not only at field level, but also at maximum saturation levels. This requires blending a lightweight granular material that will lighten the soil without hindering performance into standardised British Standard topsoils and subsoils without hindering performance. Most suppliers achieve this via an expanded clay or ROOF GARDEN, LONDON
SUDS,SOILS A N D S U B ST R AT E S THERE’S A LOT TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING SOIL FOR SUDS SCHEMES, SAYS JONATHAN BOURNE
ROOF GARDENS, VERDE DEVELOPMENT, LONDON
pumice aggregate, and we have found these, along with crushed brick, work well – but the balance is key. Ensure that you receive a decent size sample of the materials from your supplier prior to approving the material. Ask for a small bag (20/25L) representative sample rather than just a handful to get an idea of how the material will look on site and whether the bulk density data translates into the physical material.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE INDUSTRY, SOILS AND SUBSTRATES NOW FACE THE SAME LEVEL OF SCRUTINY AS EVERY OTHER PART OF A LANDSCAPING SCHEME When it comes to finding the correct substrate for your SuDS project, you usually only get one bite of the cherry. Replacing even just a few cubic metres topsoil on a roof top is usually not possible. Ensuring you use using a Green Roof Organisation supplier, along with insisting on up-to-date data (less than two months old) and a substantial sample should safe guard you against expensive remediation work further down the line.
SuDS schemes have been propelled into the scope of planning even more because of the pandemic, and with the increasing importance
WHITECHAPEL STATION ROOF
of green spaces in urban areas, the development of new and bespoke high performance planting materials is a welcome challenge to the industry. We are a long way from the traditional methodology of relying on WAC reports; we can now tailor soils to perform under a variety of criteria as well as looking after the basic standards set out in BS 3882.
A B O U T J O N AT H A N B O U R N E Jonathan Bourne is sales director at Bourne Amenity, which has been supplying hard and soft landscaping materials to the industry for over 40 years, working with civil engineering companies, landscape designers and contractors. www.bourneamenity.co.uk
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CUSTOM GARDEN LIGHTING. NO ELECTRICIAN REQUIRED When you’re looking for an effective and easy to install 12V garden lighting system, Ellumiere® is your mate. With a ange of deck lights, spot lights, bollards and sensors, we have everything you need to get your garden glowing, all without the need for an electrician. Ellumiere® By Birkdale is here to lend you a helping hand, just like mates should.
Visit birkdalesales.com to find out more.
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E D U CAT E
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ARE YOU RIDING THE WAVE OF
RISING DEMAND? THE TRADES’ COACH, ALISON WARNER, GIVES ADVICE ON HOW TO MA XIMISE OPPORTUNITIES WHEN THE FLOODGATES REOPEN
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU REMAIN CONSISTENT AND ORGANISED THROUGHOUT THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY, OTHERWISE YOU WILL LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE many of us, myself included, are turning to those ‘projects’ around the house and garden, so this is definitely a time when landscape gardeners can make hay while the sun shines… that is, of course, if you have all your ducks in order!
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Here’s some tips to help you do exactly that: Increase your internal capabilities If you feel your office team are overloaded, why not employ an interim admin assistant to help offload some of the mundane tasks, freeing up your team to focus on what is important. The key here is to think ahead by ensuring you have time set aside for your own planning and organising so you don’t fall into the trap of ‘panic’ hiring. Make sure you have systems in place Ensure you have a good CRM system in place to capture new enquiries and existing clients’ projects, ideally one that can manage both. Making sure that they ‘talk’ to your accounting software is critical and use HubDoc or Receipt Bank to manage all supplier invoices and receipts. Take advantage of the Kickstart Scheme The government’s Kickstart Scheme could be an ideal way to access funding to manage demand. Designed to support 16 to 24-yearolds, the government will pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for six months. The individual must start before 31 December 2021 and funding will be provided until 30 June 2022. ©Tima Miroshnichenko
recent survey from The Federation of Master Builders found that 55% of respondents are reporting higher workloads in Q1 of this year versus Q4 in 2020. On top of that, enquiries are increasing at their fastest rate in more than a decade. I believe this is all down to pent up demand from the last year spent in lockdown, the money that many people have saved and holidays still largely off the cards. As a result,
Make getting back to people a priority As a customer, one of my bugbears are
trades responding to my initial enquiry with a quote, then forgetting about me! It is essential that you remain consistent and organised throughout the customer journey, otherwise you will leave money on the table. Improve internal communications As your team grows, think about them as your internal customer. This means lots of communication such as one-to-ones and team meetings. Use these forums to help solve business problems, involve your team and listen to their ideas. It will make them feel valued and take work off your own plate. To measure the health of your business, take our free BUILD system scorecard, available on our website: www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
A B O U T A L I S O N WA R N E R Alison Warner is the founder of Evolve and Grow, a business coaching firm that specialises in the trades and construction industry. She is also the author of bestselling book ‘How to go from Tradesperson to Managing Director in the Construction and Trade Industries’ https://amzn.to/2QIb467 and founder of the UK’s first Business Growth Academy for trades. www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
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DOING THE JOB WRITE PUT ALL COMMUNICATION WITH THE CLIENT IN WRITING TO AVOID POTENTIAL DISPUTES, SAYS GARETH WILSON
ver the years I have come to appreciate the importance – indeed necessity – of written communication between contractor and client. It is vital to back up verbal communication with written confirmation at all stages of the landscaping project, not simply the quotation and contract at the outset. Many landscapers may be more comfortable with informal discussion and verbal agreements; this feels more natural, and it might work well enough for many jobs. However, the risks of failing to ensure clear expectations of both parties are high. Disputes can cause significant stress, financial loss, reputation damage and even legal action. Let us start with quotations. These are the foundation of the project. A detailed quotation should itemise each step of the build process and must take into account manufacturers’ recommendations and best practice methods. Whatever is stated in the quotation must then be delivered. This might seem obvious, but it underlines the importance of taking care in the detail of the quote. For example, if you state there will be 200mm of MOT Type 1 on the driveway subbase then your subbase must be 200mm in depth of MOT Type 1. Next, we turn our attention to contracts – the terms and conditions (T&Cs). I cannot stress enough the importance of a contract being in place for every project. It provides protection for you and your company; once that contract is signed by your client then both parties are singing from the same hymn
sheet. My advice here is to have a contract template drawn up for your company, and your company alone, by a professional. Online contracts are usually very basic and may not offer you the best protection. Think of a bespoke contract template as an investment; it will pay for itself ten-fold should you encounter challenging projects over the years.
IT IS VITAL TO BACK UP VERBAL COMMUNICATION WITH WRITTEN CONFIRMATION AT ALL STAGES OF THE LANDSCAPING PROJECT Written confirmation of agreements do not end once the contract is signed. Often, advice given to clients can be an ongoing process throughout the initial discussions, through to the design and build process. Clients may wish to make some decisions later on the project, once they can see it taking shape. At all stages, put the advice you provide to your clients in writing, including the pros and cons of the materials or design decisions they are making. Provide online links to respected relevant websites or your own advice. I once had a client with a north-facing patio area. The client was determined to opt for ‘fossil mint’ sawn sandstone. My initial advice was that lightcoloured buff porcelain was better suited to a north-facing plot, and that the porosity of the sandstone would cause maintenance issues.
This was rejected. I knew there would be problems down the line, and so reiterated my concerns as my ‘professional advice’ via email. After some deliberation, the client eventually took on board my advice and opted for the porcelain. I had covered myself against potential issues, and I had provided sufficient explanation (backed by links to reputable websites) so the client understood my advice was not a ploy to raise costs. It is also important to provide written product/project aftercare and maintenance specifications, which are to be handed over to the client once work has been completed. At this stage, clients are still relying on your ‘professional advice and experience’ and this phrase is often used within legal disputes. For example, if you have laid a lawn, provide the client with an initial watering specification and future maintenance programme. I am afraid to say that more than once clients have called me back to projects complaining that the lawn laid or planting done by my company is of poor quality and now dying, only to discover they have not followed aftercare instructions. My advice is to get into the habit of backing up all communication and advice in writing throughout the lifecycle of all your landscaping projects. This need not, and should not, inhibit good verbal communication and rapport with clients. Written confirmation starts with a clear and detailed quotation and a contract developed specifically for your company. All additional communication throughout the project and its aftercare plan may be backed in writing by email wherever possible – providing you with a record of correspondence.
ABOUT GARETH WILSON Leaving college at 17, Gareth has worked in the landscape industry since 1989. Progressing onto highend projects over the years, he has picked up 30 RHS medals, including Gold at Chelsea. Now a retained consultant to The Landscape Academy, Gareth is a member of multiple professional bodies. He provides technical and product advice to companies, mentors and trains landscapers across the UK, and provides arbitration and mediation services.
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REQUESTING A THERE’S MORE TO PROVIDING A REFERENCE THAN YOU MIGHT THINK, SAYS JASON MCKENZIE OF ORACLE SOLICITORS
here are a number of legal risks associated with the provision of references: for the employer providing the reference, along with the prospective employer receiving it. And, of course, for the employee concerned. Reference-related cases have been brought before the courts on many occasions.
• Discrimination: Particularly with comments about performance, attendance or sickness absence where there is a risk that these may give rise to disability discrimination. • Defamation, or malicious falsehood: Where an untrue statement is made that disparages the reputation of a person or has adverse financial consequences. Referees must be able to justify and support any comments and show either that they are true, or that they honestly believe that they are true.
Requesting a reference Except in limited circumstances, there is generally no obligation on an employer to request a reference for a potential new employee. An offer of employment that is made conditionally upon the receipt of at least one satisfactory reference must form part of the stated offer of employment, if it is to be contractually binding – there is no contractual relationship until the satisfactory reference is received in these circumstances.
IF PROVIDING [A REFERENCE], THE EMPLOYER WILL BE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENTS OF ANY REFERENCE PROVIDED ON ITS BEHALF
Providing a reference Generally, there is no legal obligation to provide a reference either. If providing one, the employer will be legally responsible for the contents of any reference provided on its behalf. If giving a telephone reference, a contemporaneous note should be made. Clearly, telephone references can be subject to dispute. Care must be taken to ensure that a refusal to provide a reference is not discriminatory (for example, a refusal to provide a reference because the employee has raised a previous complaint of, say, age discrimination, could result in a claim of victimisation). Potential liability There is no obligation to provide any detail in the reference or for it to be comprehensive. However, care must be taken to avoid potential claims from the individual, such as:
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• Negligent misstatement: A referee can be sued if it provides an inaccurate reference. The referee will also owe a “duty of care” to the prospective new employer when providing a reference – claims for negligent misstatement can also be brought by the recipient for inaccurate references. Employers should also note that possible claims can result from a reference that is too good or omits something material. Especially if it later comes to light that an employer was aware of misconduct.
Practical tips When providing a reference, employers should make sure that: • The reference is provided in accordance with any workplace policy regarding the provision of references, setting out who can provide them, in what circumstances and what can be (and should not be) included. • If only providing a brief factual reference with dates and job role (which is the common practice for many employers these days), they explain that it is their policy to provide a reference only in this format. • The reference provides a balanced overview of the employee (although it does not need to be full and comprehensive). • The reference does not contain any inaccurate statements. • The overall picture the reference gives is not misleading and does not unfairly present a poor image of the employee. • The employee is aware of any complaints or performance concerns that are referred to in the reference. • Any personal information or information about absence complies with the employer’s data protection obligations – the employee’s consent to disclosure can be an important factor. • Comments on suitability for a new job are given with care because they may be less easy to justify objectively. • The reference is marked “Private and confidential for the addressee only” and includes an appropriate disclaimer of liability.
A B O U T O R AC L E S O L I C I TO R S Oracle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm with a deep understanding of the landscape industry and expertise in employment, commercial, litigation, property and contract law. Oracle Solicitors, founded in 2002 has since grown to include offices in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Addis Ababa – please visit:
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s businesses reopen and ramp up operations in a ‘post-COVID’ environment, they will be anxious to move quickly, and it could leave employees feeling a bit shell-shocked. An organisation that isn’t focused on employee-centric policies could find their comeback facing major obstacles. In a Harvard Business Review article, some very startling statistics were published that you should find interesting. “Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout."
5 WAYS TO
BUILD TRUST IN YOUR BUSINESS P R OV I N G YO U ' R E E M P LOY E E- C E N T R I C H A S A H O ST O F B E N E F I TS FO R YO U A N D YO U R T E A M E X P L A I N S N I C K R U D D L E
Here are five steps to build T.R.U.S.T in your organisation: • Transparent Open, candid communication and information flow eliminates misunderstanding or isolation. Include everyone and don’t have favourites. • Respect your team Don’t make assumptions and ensure that they feel respected and valued. Establish a ‘no tolerance’ policy for disrespectful behaviour amongst your team and model the behaviours you want. • Unite your team Organise more group activities and inclusive projects to build unity and cohesiveness. Don’t tolerate cliques or gossip. • Show that you care Keep in mind that employees spend most of their time at work and if you show that you truly care about them, they will feel more at ease. Provide support and additional services to ensure they are healthy, safe and maintain a positive mindset. • Trust building activities Create activities and exercises to build trust among your team. Offer additional training and educational sessions to allow employees to build confidence and skills. These two areas build morale which ultimately reflect a trustworthy organisation.
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LISTEN AND BE OPEN TO HEARING FROM YOUR TEAM DIRECTLY. ENSURE THAT EVEN IF THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS OR IDEAS ARE NOT ADOPTED, THEY ARE VALUED To further improve morale and build trust, ensure managers are equipped and experienced. Managers’ competency and skills can go a long way to galvanising a team. Make sure that ‘difficult’ issues are addressed quickly. Don’t let things linger – this causes employees to be sceptical about your commitment to an employee-centric environment. Listen and be open to hearing from your team directly. Ensure that even if their recommendations or ideas are not adopted, they are valued. Make sure that you offer training, education and skill building to further develop competencies.
5 QUESTIONS THAT DETERMINE IF YOU’RE A TRUSTWORTHY LEADER Do people constantly question your expectations of them? Would most people describe you as someone who is reliable? Is there a high amount of gossip and disrespect among your team? Do the majority of team members underperform at the tasks you ask them to do? Do you trust people to take on new responsibilities? If the answer questions 1, 3, and 4 are yes, and 2 and 5 are no, there’s work to be done!
ABOUT NICK RUDDLE Since 2007, Nick Ruddle has coached many landscape contractors, horticulturists, nurseries, garden centres and garden designers to success and works closely with the main industry associations, suppliers and leaders. With more than 5,000 hours of one-to-one coaching and delivering hundreds of workshops and seminars over the years, Nick can help implement specific strategies, methods, processes and systems that will produce exceptional results for your landscape business. www.nickruddle.com
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A GAP IN THE MARKET SUITABLE COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ARE BECOMING FEW AND FAR BETWEEN, SAYS ANGUS LINDSAY
n my time in the grounds maintenance and landscaping sector the 3500kg tipper has been the go-to vehicle of choice for contractor, landscaper, utility provider, and local authority alike; but it has always been supported by a number of other vehicles which had their own unique abilities. In particular, I am referring to the micro-van in all its configurations. I’m sure we all remember the Bedford Rascal, Suzuki Carry, Daihatsu Hijet, and Piaggio Porter. These vehicles were ideal for operations in parks, cemeteries, sports complexes, industrial sites, and pedestrian precincts where access could be an issue, or where a lighter footprint was required – though the three-wheel Piaggio was a bit of an acquired taste.
THE ORIGINAL MICRO-TRUCK: GOOD AS IT IS, POOR SUPPORT HAS BEEN ITS ACHILLES’ HEEL
With manufacturers reducing their offering, supply has dwindled and the industry has had to look elsewhere for suitable alternatives. The Piaggio for one is still available, but supply has always been somewhat hit and miss, which is a pity as this versatile vehicle ticks many boxes – especially now being available in electric.
ATVs from the likes of John Deere and Kubota went some way to addressing this gap, especially where off-road operations were required, but were not so good if you had to travel any great distance on a dual carriageway. What was needed was a small delivery-type van with a tipping body, in which the occupants could be kept away from the material they were transporting, especially if that material was parks-derived waste collected on a hot day.
WITH MANUFACTURERS REDUCING THEIR OFFERING, SUPPLY HAS DWINDLED AND THE INDUSTRY HAS HAD TO LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR SUITABLE ALTERNATIVES So, the only option was to work with coachbuilders to reconfigure panel vans into small tippers. No mean feat, as these vehicles have to undergo all manner of stress tests and IVA approval before they can be registered for the road; but this is something the Dutch have been doing successfully for several years. That said, Fiat was 75% of the way there with its Doblo Work-up, a factory-built drop-side which, with the addition of a lift kit and a set of cage sides, became an extremely useful vehicle for a variety of operations. Unfortunately, this month has seen news that Fiat is ceasing production of the Doblo, and Renault/Nissan are replacing their much-loved Kangoo/eNV
ranges some time in 2022. So here we are, back at the drawing board. So, does that now open up a gap in the market? There are options, with purpose-built vehicles such as the Goupil, Alke, Garia, and the
THE RECENTLY LAUNCHED ETESIA E-LANDER – A VIABLE “RURBAN” OPTION
recently introduced E-Lander from Etesia. All are electric powered and small enough to work on sites with restricted access, quietly and emission free. But I wouldn’t like to drive one on the A34 for any distance as they still lack that automotive safety and security. They do, however, tick several boxes and, with various body options, can be extremely useful in both rural and urban environments. The E-Lander in particular has been designed from the ground up and with a lot attention to the market, rather than derived from a golf buggy platform, and gives a viable alternative, so in its own way offers a niche solution. Whilst I appreciate that the automotive industry is all about numbers, with major players joining forces to use common platforms to produce a range of vehicles under different badges, they are also restricting their options to a point where the end user is being forced to change how they operate to accommodate what is available; this then leaves gaps which need to be filled.
A B O U T A N G U S L I N D S AY Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing a mechanisation programme, managing field operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. He has an Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation Management MSc from Silsoe, and joined Glendale as machinery manager in 1994, then idverde UK in 2009. SADLY, THE FIAT DOBLO WILL NO LONGER BE AN OPTION
Angus Lindsay-3.indd 103
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 103
L AT E ST K I T
HAND TOOLS W E S P E A K TO S O M E S U P P L I E R S O F H A N D T O O L S TO D I S C OV E R T H E I R L AT E ST L A U N C H E S
POWER ROTARY SCISSORS
40V MAX XGT CORDLESS GARDEN MACHINERY
Power Rotary Scissors are a powerful attachment for any brand string trimmer or brush cutter. It has two independent round tooth blades that move in ‘opposite’ directions, producing smooth, clean cutting. The 1:20 reduction ratio and counter rotating blades create a clean, safe, sharp cut in any use. It can prevent flying gravel or debris damaging your trees, plants, or even cars in parking lots. Preventing flying debris means it is an ideal brush cutter attachment for operators working in conditions with risks or potential for damaging of property. Power Rotary Scissors are great for precision cutting and edging around lawns, gardens, sand traps and uncovering of landmarks (drain covers, etc). With the Power Rotary Scissors, you target exactly what needs to be cut. Blades are easy to sharpen and replace as the gear unit can be completely disassembled for easy maintenance. www.idech.co.jp
Makita UK has launched its first XGT 40V Max soft-landscaping machines. The UX01G Brushless Split-Shaft Power Unit and UR003G Brushless Line Trimmer offer a high output, durable solution to tackle grounds maintenance tasks with ease. The UX01G Brushless Split Shaft Power Unit delivers an impressive no-load speed of up to 9,700rpm. Overload protection and Active Feedback Sensing Technology (AFT) keep the machine working at optimum efficiency and prevent damage by shutting down the motor if the rotation speed suddenly stops. Automatic Torque Drive Technology changes the cutting speed according to the load condition, keeping the machine performing at its optimum. These tools feature Makita’s unique smart system technology for optimum battery performance – as well as a brushless motor which increases run time. Each battery has a heavy-duty outer casing and shock absorbing housing, and is IPX4 rated. www.makitauk.com
104 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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THE STANLEY FATMAX® SHOVEL, FORK AND SPADE
The STANLEY FATMAX® shovel, fork and spade include a number of time and energy saving innovations including: • Serrated edge to break through tough ground and roots when digging. • Oversized footstep to drive the head in whilst wearing boots. • Oversized Pro Grip Handle lines up with the head to reduce wrist strain and increase force. • Shock reduction collar sits between fibreglass shaft and carbon steel head to minimise vibration and reduce body wear. • Tubed steel shank reinforces the fibreglass handle construction, adding strength and durability. Overall, the STANLEY FATMAX® shovel, fork and spades are some of the most comfortable and effective tools available. The combination of head and handle design allows them to break through tough soil without breaking the skin of your hands to get it done. They also come with a limited lifetime warranty for peace of mind. www.napbrands.co.uk
ive years ago, virtual reality (VR) was just hitting the market. Still, it was more commonly seen as a storyline in films like Tron, Ready Player One, Avatar and the ultimate VR experience The Matrix, than in the hands of consumers. Now, there are variety of products on the market, with 4.93 million units sold on the market last year alone, according to Statista. And now, garden design is welcoming this technology too. From the basic 3D visuals made with software like Vectorworks, a garden design can be put into software such as Lumion which adds in the details – textures, lawns, sky effects, shadows. From this, a design can be exported into a panoramic image, and this is what’s used for the VR experience. How it works from here depends on the type of headsets. Tethered headsets will use the video from the computer it’s attached to, standalone headsets will require one download, and smartphone headsets will, as the name implies, need a phone with the video on.
INCREASINGLY WE HAVE HAD CLIENTS COMING SPECIFICALLY TO US BECAUSE WE USE VR TECHNOLOGY LUKE MILLS, DIRECTOR, THE LANDSCAPE SERVICE
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V I RT UA L RE ALIT Y W E S P E A K TO LU K E M I L L S , D I R ECTO R AT T H E L A N D S CA P E S E RV I C E AS W E L L AS G A R D E N D ES I G N E R TO M M AS S E Y A B O U T H OW V R I S B E I N G U S E D W I T H I N G A R D E N D ES I G N , W H AT T H E B E N E F I TS O F D O I N G S O A R E , A N D I F T H E R E A R E A N Y D OW N S I D ES It’s a process that Luke Mills, director of The Landscape Service knows very well, having worked with the technology for nearly three years now. “We do it all in house from scratch,” Luke explains. “For a small garden, we can transfer a design into VR in a day, for a large garden we can do it in two.” It’s not just VR that can be put in the headsets either, 3D visuals and walkthrough animations can all be used too. This proved hugely beneficial during COVID-19, as The Landscape Service was able to send clients their own walkthrough video or VR file to use in their own headsets, if they had them. “You can quite quickly take the headset on and off, so you can compare the VR design with what’s in front of you.” This helps Luke when it comes to clients
who struggle to visualise how the space will come together, as it’s right before their eyes. By creating it all in house, Luke and his team are able to make any design tweaks themselves, without costs skyrocketing. Cost is certainly one of the downsides to this technology. In order to provide such a service, a company would need to invest in Vectorworks which is just over £3,000, Lumion which is over £2,000 and of course the headset itself which ranges from £300 up to £1,000 depending on the model. For garden designer Tom Massey, this means it’s something which he feels isn’t always viable: “One downside is still time and cost. It’s probably not yet really viable for smaller projects with lower budgets.” Luke believes it’s worth the initial hit, though: “It makes us more competitive; it’s a good selling point and practically sells itself. Eventually it pays for itself.” The Landscape Service offers VR as an add on service, after the initial design and quote. And it’s a service which has been rising in popularity in recent months. “Increasingly, we
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 105
THE TECHNOLOGY We take a look at some of the different types of VR technology and explore some of the products on the market in these different categories
TETHERED VR HEADSETS These are physically connected to a computer by cables.
IT IS VERY IMMERSIVE AND ENGAGING AND IT GIVES 360° VIEWS OF THE SPACE T O M M A S S E Y, TOM MASSEY STUDIO
have had clients coming specifically to us because we use VR technology,” notes Luke. “This increased after Your Garden Made Perfect came out, and we really played on this and used it within our marketing.” Tom was one of the show’s garden designers and was able to experience a first of its kind, as the show presented designs to homeowners using VR technology. “It is very immersive and engaging and it gives 360° views of the space,” says Tom. “Compared to a flat plan or visual on paper it is so much more engaging and exciting.” Indeed, for Luke, using the VR technology has boosted his creativity, “Because you can move around the garden so quickly, you can see it from a number of views and angles,” explains Luke, “You can model the sun to the exact position it is in the world, and see how the sun
casts in the garden. You’re watching the space come alive as you design it.” There was some debate around BBC Two’s Your Garden Made Perfect as gardens were shown in maturity. But there’s good reason for this. “You need to sell the scheme to a client,” Tom elaborates. “Showing an immature planting scheme won’t give the client an accurate representation of the design intention.” Luke adds that because of when the VR is used, you could never give fully accurate representation anyway, “You show the VR when you’re at the very early conceptual stages, before you’ve even picked materials or plants. You’re giving a conceptual representation, and you just need to communicate this to clients.” This conceptual representation extends to the plants used. Though the VR technology isn’t capable of illustrating every plant, it never could – plants are infinite. Since our interview with Luke, he has acquired a standalone headset which allows the viewer more freedom to move around. It appears garden designers are more or less sold. Only time will tell if VR can help sell garden design to consumers even more; watch this VR space.
Pros • More immersive • Higher quality experience Cons • Require a certain amount of setup space • Need a constant cable connection
S TA N D A L O N E / A L L- I N - O N E VR HEADSETS These don’t require a connection to a PC or a smartphone. Pros • Built in processors, sensors, battery, storage memory and displays means there is more freedom to move around • Requires the least external interaction Cons • Lower quality graphics • Lower refresh rates
SMARTPHONE VR HEADSETS Users slide their smartphones into the headset and the screen will be right in front of the user’s eyes. Pro • Accessible to more users Cons • Quality of the experience depends on the smartphone being used
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M AT E R I A L S F O C U S
SKILLED METAL WORKER JAMES BOOTH EXPLAINS HOW THERE’S MORE TO CORTEN STEEL THAN MEETS THE EYE
LIVEWELL GARDEN – DAVID JARVIS ASSOCIATES
KEY FACTS ABOUT CORTEN STEEL • It was developed in the US in the 30s. • The trademark name Cor-Ten refers to its corrosion resistance and tensile strength. • Corten steel is produced from a group of steel alloys. • The material has been used in a number of award-winning show gardens, thanks to Outdoordesign.
It was trademarked as ‘Cor-Ten’, referring to its corrosion resistance and tensile strength. The rustic look then made it a popular choice for modernistic architecture and outdoor art in the 50s and 60s. Despite its rusty appearance, though, Corten steel is not coated in rust. Rather, the surface
108 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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MAIN BENEFITS OF CORTEN STEEL
CORTEN EDGING – DAVID HOY
oxidises to form a protective layer, giving the material a red-orange colour. This colour can run when it rains, which can lead to staining, so this should be considered when using alongside porous stone or wooden decking. It can also only be sourced in a flat sheet, which Outdoordesign can then fabricate into bespoke products such as edging, planters, screening, sculptures, water features and fire pits.
• It develops its own protective layer through surface oxidisation – this gives the rusty appearance. • Maintenance is low for Corten steel. • Corten steel is extremely robust – the ‘Ten’ part of its name refers to its ‘tensile’ strength. • Its ability to be welded makes it a versatile material. • The orange-red appearance gives schemes an attractive, rustic edge. • Scratches or minor surface damage will quickly oxidise and blend in.
IT WAS TRADEMARKED AS ‘COR-TEN’, REFERRING TO ITS CORROSION RESISTANCE AND TENSILE STRENGTH At our manufacturing facilities in Ford, West Sussex, we have the skills, experience and state-of-the-art equipment to produce whatever a client needs in metal. Every part of the process is undertaken in-house – from the design to the cutting and forming to the fabrication and the assembly process. A highly accurate BySprint laser is used for precise cutting, which maximises efficiency and minimises waste. Outdoordesign doesn’t just work with Corten steel, but with metals ranging from mild and stainless steel, aluminium, and brass, copper and bronze, the CORTEN PLANTER – WILSON MCWILLIAM latter three being STUDIO more challenging.
MOON GATE – RHODA MAW GARDEN DESIGN
ABOUT OUTDOORDESIGN Outdoordesign specialises in metalwork. With more than 20 years’ experience working with garden designers, architects and developers, the manufacturer offers an end-toend service from initial design and engineering through to manufacturing and assembly to delivery. Based in West Sussex, Outdoordesign has helped clients deliver projects ranging from domestic gardens to commercial
orten steel was bolstered to popularity in the UK in the late 90s. It was used to create one of the most widely recognised sculptures in the country, the Angel of the North. Completed in 1998, this incredible 20m-high piece of art in Gateshead was designed by Antony Gormley and sparked a surge in use of Corten steel in the construction industry. But the rusty-looking metal had been making waves far earlier in the US. Corten steel – or ‘weathering steel’ – was developed there in the 30s to help build coal wagons for the railways. Corten is a metal alloy made mainly from iron and small amounts of carbon, silicon and manganese, alongside several other elements.
developments to award-winning show gardens.
©John Campbell – roomoflight.com
©John Campbell – roomoflight.com
CAS E ST U DY
Family Monsters Garden RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019
©John Campbell – roomoflight.com
Sponsored by national charity Family Action, green spaces provider idverde created the Family Monsters Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019. The garden – which not only won a Gold medal but also Best Artisan Garden – celebrated 150 years since Family Action was first founded and idverde’s centenary. Designed by idverde’s Alistair Bayford, the garden aimed to encourage discussions on the challenges faced by families – whether that be money, health, time or relationships.
Alistair approached Outdoordesign with a rough sketch and a watercolour artists’ impression of what the show garden would look like once built only 11 weeks before the bespoke product was needed on site. From this, Outdoordesign created the entire Corten steel structure which surrounded the garden, starting with detailed drawings in 3D for Alistair to
Materials Focus Corten Steel.indd 109
review and approve. The team then fabricated the structure out of 8mm Corten which had been pre-treated to give it the rusty aesthetic. Its numerous curves and arcs made it one of the most extensive metalwork projects Outdoordesign had ever worked on for Chelsea. It took two of its skilled fabricators 10 days to complete the fabrication – just in time for the show.
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 109
“Are You Fixing your Artificial “Are “AreYou YouFixing Fixingyour yourArtificial Artificiall Grass Down Safely?” Grass GrassDown DownSafely?” Safely?” VertEdgeis isa anew newrevolutionary revolutionaryartificial artificialgrass grassedging edgingsystem. system.Fixing Fixingthe theperimeter perimeterofofananartificial artificial VertEdge VertEdge is a new revolutionary artificial grass edging system. Fixing the perimeter of an artificial lawnis isone oneofofthe themost mostimportant importantparts partsofofananartificial artificiallawn lawninstallation. installation.Traditional/current Traditional/current lawn lawn is one ofdated, the most important parts of an artificial lawn perimeter installation. Traditional/current methods are flawed, and improvised. When the lawn is nailed,screwed, screwed,ororstapled stapled methods arearedated, flawed, and improvised. When the lawn perimeter is isnailed, methods dated, flawed, and improvised. When the lawn perimeter nailed, screwed, or stapled every10cm, 10cm,just just10% 10%ofofthe thelawn lawnis isfixed, fixed,leaving leaving90% 90%unfixed. unfixed.Not Nottotomention mentionleaving leavingvisible visible every every 10cm, on justthe 10% of surface. the lawn is fixed, leaving 90% unfixed. Not to mention leaving visible fixingmarks marks lawn fixing on the lawn surface. fixing marks on the lawn surface. Whenthe thelawn lawnperimeter perimeteris isglued gluedonontotoa acement cementhaunch, haunch,ghosting ghostinglines linesare arevisible visiblethrough throughthe the When When the lawn perimeter or is certainly glued on once to a cement haunch,aggregate ghosting lines are visible through the lawn almost immediately the compacted has settled. VertEdge lawn almost immediately ororcertainly the compacted aggregate has settled. VertEdge lawn almostthese immediately certainlyonce once the compacted aggregate has settled. VertEdge addresses problems providing a neat 100% adhered perimeter, which is safer, neater,and and addresses these problems providing a neat 100% adhered perimeter, which is safer, neater, addresses these problems providing a neat 100% adhered perimeter, whichoffers is safer, neater, and stronger than any other product or method on the market today. VertEdge paying customers stronger than any other product or method on the market today. VertEdge offers paying customers stronger than other product or method on the market today. offers paying customers systemthat that any is purpose designed, easytotounderstand understand andvalue valueVertEdge for money. a aasystem system thatis ispurpose purposedesigned, designed,easy easy to understandand and valueforformoney. money.
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Fullyintegrated integrated naturalprofiled profiled finish Fully Fully integratednatural natural profiledfinish finish Can form to any curve/radius Can Canform formtotoany anycurve/radius curve/radius Perimeter cannot be pulled up by pets or wild animals Perimeter Perimetercannot cannotbebepulled pulledupupbybypets petsororwild wildanimals animals Will help artificial grass to last longer (no perimeter failures) Will Willhelp helpartificial artificialgrass grasstotolast lastlonger longer(no (noperimeter perimeterfailures) failures) Cost effective Cost Costeffective effective Recyclable Recyclable Recyclable Safe & secure Safe&&secure secure Safe Simple to fix, user friendly Simpletotofix,fix,user userfriendly friendly Simple Light weight, easy to store and handle Lightweight, weight,easy easytotostore storeand andhandle handle Light Professional or DIY use ProfessionalororDIY DIYuse use Professional Works with all artificial grass surfaces Workswith withallallartificial artificialgrass grasssurfaces surfaces Works The new industry standard Thenew newindustry industrystandard standard The Supplied in 750mm lengths. Suppliedinin750mm 750mmlengths. lengths. Supplied Safe for Children and pets: No nails or pegs hammered through the artificial lawn SafeforforChildren Children andpets: pets: Nonails nailsororpegs pegs hammered through the artificial lawn Safe which can comeand loose andNocause injury. hammered through the artificial lawn whichcan cancome comeloose looseand and causeinjury. injury. which Will last the lifespan of thecause artificial lawn: No Timber battens, which rot under the Willlast lastthe thelifespan lifespanofofthe theartificial artificiallawn: lawn:No NoTimber Timberbattens, battens,which whichrotrotunder underthe the Will artificial lawn. artificiallawn. lawn. artificial No receding or pushed up perimeters: The lawn edging finish will always look the Noreceding recedingororpushed pushed upperimeters: perimeters:The Thelawn lawnedging edgingfinish finishwill willalways alwayslook lookthe the No same as the day it wasupinstalled. sameasasthe theday dayit itwas wasinstalled. installed. same
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The Traditional Company To what depth should the edging be installed? We would recommend that half of the edging is installed below ground. This adds strength to the edging and increases rigidity leaving a robust product in place. How does edging differ for various products? All three Legacy products – Legacy 3, Legacy 5 and Legacy 6 – are manufactured from solid steel and are available in different heights and finishes, such as mild steel, galvanised, Corten and stainless. We would recommend mild steel in garden areas around flower beds, driveways and borders including artificial grass. Where there is expensive porcelain, Corten would be most beneficial as it develops a stable protective rust layer. Stainless and galvanised steel will also provide a similar protection. For driveways where aggregates are used, Legacy 5 and Legacy 6mm edging in mild steel would be recommended to provide a rigid steel structure. www.legacyedging.co.uk
CORE Landscape Products To what depth should the edging be installed? It really depends on what you are trying to retain – in terms of delineating two areas of contrasting materials. If edging a lawn, then the edging should ideally be level to the top of the thatch/soil, enabling you to mow right up to the edge. With regards to paving, it would normally be flush to the top of the slab which would conceal the cut edges of the pavers and prevent trip hazards. With aggregates, we would recommend the edging sits proud of the finished surface by around 15mm to prevent kick off of loose aggregate and prevent it migrating into surround beds/borders, etc. The other main application for steel edging is to create raised planters or delineate between areas that are two different levels – or more. That is why CORE Edge is available in multiple heights and gauges for domestic and commercial use, with various finishes suitable for all applications which provides design flexibility. www.corelp.co.uk
EDGING EXPERTISE Steelscapes To what depth should the edging be installed? This is largely down to the application and levels. As a general rule, we advise installing half of the edge below ground where the edge is likely to be driven over – we also advise a 6mm thick edge for these applications. In borders, pedestrian paths and other applications we advise a third of the edge is set below ground. Exceptions to this are raised
beds where typically the maximum edge height is required above ground; in these instances, providing 10 to 20mm of the edge is set below the surface, the rest can be an upstand. In all the above, if you need or want to bury more there is no harm in doing so. How does edging differ for various products? Edging for lawns, paving and artificial grass – in all cases, a study edge is essential. Edging around porcelain is not always necessary if levels adjoining it are relatively even as it’s a stable divide in itself. If you require a step up or down, then a steel edge is ideal. If using Corten edging as an upstand, it’s best to let it rust prior to installation to prevent staining the pavers. When edging artificial lawns, the edge should also contain all the substrates to ensure it does not migrate or become contaminated
ADVICE ON THE DEPTH TO INSTALL EDGING AND HOW EDGING SHOULD DIFFER WHEN USED ALONGSIDE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS
with any adjoining soil or shallow root growth possibly resulting in changes in levels or allowing weeds to take hold. When setting an edge for pathways, ensure the fixings are on the hidden side; this can be either side depending on if the path is raised or more typically sunken into the surrounds. Ensure there is some edge rising above a loose aggregate surface otherwise it will migrate over the edge. With Steelscapes’ edging system, its stability means there should be no need to haunch the edge with concrete; this has the advantage of allowing grass and plants to flourish right up against the edge. www.steelscapes.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 111
For full details on all jobs, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk Call 01903 777 570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your vacancy
SENIOR CONTRACTING OPERATIVE
Morton Pattison is a leading contracting firm delivering specialist ecological, design & build and landscape services across the private, public and charitable sectors. The purpose of the senior contracting operative role will be to lead on the practical delivery of countryside and ecology contracting work. The types of work undertaken include but are not limited to: countryside infrastructure/access projects; habitat creation and management; and design and build. This role will be ideal for someone with more than five years of landscape-based work experience and qualifications, looking to move into the countryside and ecology area of the landscape sector.
Morton Pattison is looking for a contracting operative to join its team. The company works principally on nature conservation sites, renewable energy sites and countryside infrastructure projects. It is looking for a contracting operative to assist with the practical delivery of countryside and ecology contracting work. This role will be ideal for someone with some landscape-based work experience and qualifications looking to gain experience and knowledge in the countryside and ecology area of the sector. Full in-house training will be provided. Morton Pattison is a growing company so there is scope for the right candidate to progress as the company expands.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
SENIOR LANDSCAPE FOREMAN
A position has become available for a full-time senior landscape foreman to work on some amazing projects throughout the southwest. Role responsibilities include groundwork and preparation, installing patios and paving, and laying real and artificial lawns. A minimum of five years’ experience in hard/soft landscaping is required as well as proficiency in the use of landscape machinery. Applicants must be honest and reliable and have experience in running a site, including organising staff and materials supply. The successful candidate will earn £28,000 to £30,000 per annum. An immediate start is available.
Allium Gardeners delivers a high-quality garden landscaping and maintenance to private individuals and commercial clients in West Suffolk, Cambridge and West Essex. It is known for its high-quality work and passion for gardening. The company is rapidly expanding and is looking for team players who are highly skilled in landscaping. It is looking for an experienced hard landscaper to join its Suffolk (Sudbury/Bury St Edmunds) team. Experience is required in all aspects of hard landscaping and the successful candidate will need to work to tight deadlines and within budget, helping the soft landscaping team when required.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
BH Gardens is looking for someone with a real passion for gardening and takes pride in what they do. Experience is not essential as training can be provided, but applicants will need to be hard working and reliable with good communication skills. Benefits for the successful candidate include working in beautiful gardens, use of company vehicle and tools, and learning all different aspects of gardening. Overtime is also available. A full UK driving license is required.
Are you an experienced passionate gardener looking for a full-time, permanent position? Flowers Galore & More is a well-established garden design and maintenance business with a busy and growing portfolio of high-end residential gardens across northwest London. This is an excellent opportunity to consolidate practical skills and gain experience working with experienced horticulturalists. Good horticulture knowledge is required, with a plant identification test on interview. Applicants must have a good work ethic and clear communication skills for liaising with other staff members. A clean UK driving license is essential.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
SPORTS & GROUNDS TECHNICIAN
Sandbach School is a high achieving free school/academy with more than 1,200 boys on roll in the lower school and a mixed sixth form of 250 students. It is looking to recruit a motivated sports & grounds technician to be an integral part of its high achieving and progressive PE department. The successful candidate will ensure that the school sports facilities are prepared and maintained to a high standard so that fixtures and events, including a full programme of Saturday sport, run effectively. The role also includes taking responsibility for grounds and sports equipment and assisting the school site team in the upkeep of the school’s extensive grounds.
Would you like to be a part of The London Borough of Hounslow, whose diverse workforce is committed to making a positive difference for its residents and visitors by ensuring the quality of its services are maintained to a high standard? This role sits within the Heritage and Arts team. While this role relates specifically to the National Lottery Heritage Fund-funded Mulberry Garden project at Hogarth’s House, the team has responsibilities which include the other boroughmanaged historic house, Boston Manor House as well as a range of involvement in heritage and arts provision across the borough and its cultural provisions.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
MORTON PATTISON Location: Hampshire
GREENHAVEN LANDSCAPES Location: Dorset
BH GARDENS Location: London, Surrey
SANDBACH SCHOOL Location: Cheshire
112 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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MORTON PATTISON Location: Hampshire
ALLIUM GARDENERS LTD Location: Suffolk
FLOWERS GALORE & MORE LTD Location: London
LONDON BOROUGH OF HOUNSLOW Location: London
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T H E L I T T L E I N T E RV I E W
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114 Pro Landscaper / July 2021
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Global landscape solutions manager, Platipus Tree Anchoring Systems
Garden designer, Harry Holding Garden Design
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Royal Marines.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Working in events, managing stages at music and literary festivals.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational. It’s the pinnacle of what we do. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? The UAE. Their ability to carve green out of the desert is incredible. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Ann-Marie Powell. I never get tired of meeting her. An incredible lady. Newest gardening trend in your opinion? With COVID-19, definitely the ‘inside outside garden’. Love your personal space! Best piece of trivia you know? Firefighters use chemicals to make water wetter. (Hmmm, I know, right?)
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Australia, but I can’t pin it down to one type of landscape. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? I’d love to meet Nigel Dunnett, I find his work an incredible source of inspiration. Best piece of trivia you know? To make 500g of honey, bees fly approx. 55,000 miles – 2.2 times around the world! Best invention in recent years? The technologies developed by ‘Ocean Cleanup’ invented by Boyan Slat when he was 18!
Best invention in recent years? Ninja Foodi Grill.
Your most used saying or cliché? Plants just want to live! (When chatting to our aftercare team on site.)
Favourite tipple? Bourbon.
Favourite tipple? Red wine, or Guinness! Both?
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Keanu Reeves, in a fat suit.
What three things would you take to a desert island? My dog, yoga mat and Martin Crawford’s book on Forest Gardens.
Your favourite joke? Someone stole my Microsoft Office and they’re going to pay, you have my Word.
Your favourite joke? Warning – explicit content.
Karaoke song of choice? ‘Something in the Way’ by Nirvana.
Karaoke song of choice? All of Elton John’s greatest hits,
Conservation & education development manager, Bromley, idverde UK
Garden designer, Eleanor Victoria Garden Design
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I’d probably still be working in zoos and conservation projects.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Possibly teaching science?
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Absolutely, when they present aspiration tempered by being achievable and preach an environmentally responsible message. What would you blow your budget on? Wildlife ponds and lots of them! The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? The Ashton Brothers. They are doing a fantastic job in bringing nature-friendly gardening into the mainstream.
What would you blow your budget on? Beautiful mature ornamental trees and old gnarly fruit trees. One thing that you think would make the industry better? More awareness from the general public on the costs of professional garden design and landscaping. Newest gardening trend in your opinion? The younger generation getting stuck in!
NICK COSLETT Industry expert @madaboutplants Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Not very, to me anyway. They are an amazing show of ingenuity and skill by the designers and more importantly the constructors – the unsung landscapers. However, it’s oh so temporary. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? New Zealand – South Island’s like the Pennines on steroids, but the Victorians buggered their ecology with introductions. What would you blow your budget on? Making an arboretum.
Newest gardening trend in your opinion? Bug hotels – they aren’t always a good thing!
Role model as a child? David Attenborough, my hero.
The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? George Eustace MP, our Defra minister, with responsibilities to our industry and say to him how our industry needs better recognition and support by Government #MinisterforHorticulture.
Best piece of trivia you know? Santa’s reindeer are all female. Male reindeer don’t have antlers in December.
Couldn’t get through the week without… Pottering in the garden, I’m currently checking all of the buds on the trees daily!
Couldn’t get through the week without... A glass of wine and listening to Sounds of the 70s with Johnnie Walker.
Best invention in recent years? Affordable wildlife cameras allowing people to see the value of their garden or parks to nature 24 hours a day.
Best invention in recent years? Electric cars.
Best invention in recent years? The COVID-19 vaccine.
Favourite tipple? Edinburgh Gin’s Elderflower Liqueur.
Favourite tipple? I’m particularly keen on single malts, especially from Islay.
Your most used saying or cliché There’s no such thing as a weed. What three things would you take to a desert island? Binoculars, notebook, Twitter. Karaoke song of choice? ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler.
Little Interviews.indd 115
Best piece of trivia you know? Up to 100 people can fit into a blue whale’s mouth.
What three things would you take to a desert island? Sun cream, sunglasses and a knife. Your favourite joke? I don’t have a true favourite, but: Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honeycombs. Ha!
What three things would you take to a desert island? A fishing rod and kit, some gardening tools and a ladder. Karaoke song of choice? ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who.
Pro Landscaper / July 2021 115
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