Pro Landscaper November 2022

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NOVEMBER 2O22 AN EDIBLE EDEN Explore The World Food Garden at RHS Wisley 30 UNDER 30: THE NEXT GENERATION 2022 This year’s winners are revealed FUTURESCAPE 2022 Looking ahead to the unmissable event


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Welcome W

e’re gearing up for yet another FutureScape event. Last year’s marked our first one at the ExCeL London, and this year’s brings with it more firsts. We’re welcoming the addition of the Training, Education and Employment Village, for instance, and the Urban Greening Zone.

But FutureScape 2022 also marks the return of some of our well-established awards, one of our readers’ favourites being the 30 Under 30: The Next Generation initiative, sponsored by Green-tech. It is an honour to celebrate and recognise those who are so passionate about this industry at such a young age, and who have so many ideas for ensuring the industry has a bright future too. Take a look at some of these ideas on page 38.

We’re not the only ones announcing award winners. The SGD held its annual ceremony last month, where it honoured Sarah Eberle with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Renowned garden designer Sarah is the most decorated designer at RHS shows and her dedication and impact on the industry is not only recognised through her SGD Award (one of many) but also through her making the final 50 of Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential, as voted for by our readers. And we’ll be revealing whether Sarah makes the Top 25 at FutureScape too!

So, there’ll be celebrations, announcements and chance to network at the event in November, but we’ll also, of course, be addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our sector – and highlighting ideas for tackling these. As usual, it will be an unmissable event, so we’ll see you there!

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 WELCOME 3
Professional Landscapers
©Ann-Marie Powell Gardens


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Landscape Barometer




Peat Behind Us?


New Role With Big Goals

Perennial Thinking





Products for

Find Verona at FutureScape

Fresco porcelain collection

Lighting: Take Five



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Hear it From


Edible Landscaping

You Taking a

and Braces Approach to

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 CONTENTS 6
The rise in popularity The Clay Curse: Part One Gareth Wilson Are
Your Business? Alison Warner Mentioning The Menopause Oracle Solicitors Key Components Angus Lindsay Stacks of Choice All Green Group All Hands On Deck Grono Roundup Our monthly roundup of industry news UK
The latest statistics and facts from the industry Is the Party Over? Neil Edwards Ask the Expert Holly Youde RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 RHS unveils show gardens Getting
Andrew Wilson The Autism-Friendly City Christopher Martin Rethinking
Katie Flaxman Go and See at FutureScape Stands to look out for... 30 Under 30: The Next Generation Winners 2022 Get to know the next generation of the industry BALI 50th Anniversary BALI reflects on its past while looking to the future
An interview with Creepers' Michael Buck When is a Meadow Not a Meadow? (Part 3) Nick Coslett Putting
Lewis Normand
Turf Green, Green
Exploring resilient turfs Bark and Mulch
play spaces An Edible Eden Ann-Marie Powell Gardens Outdoor Room with a View Andrea Newill Trends: Mazes Anji Connell 90 91 95 99 105 111 112 115 116 118 121 08 11 14 16 19 20 23 25 29 33 47 53 57 58 61 63 65 69 71 79 85 53 November 2022

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from composite decking manufacturers and suppliers

Composite Decking


5 Minutes with Claire Lowther, Harris Bugg Studio



Disputes can and do arise with clients, but there are measures that companies can take to protect themselves, which Alison Warner provides in her latest article.


Accessibility needs to be as inclusive as possible, so when we’re designing out cities, we need to consider how those with autism will interact with these spaces, says Christopher Martin.


With a number of issues arising from laying paving on clay soil, Gareth Wilson writes the first of a three-part series focusing on how to tackle issues related to this head on.


Rewilding has been hitting the headlines recently, but there are plenty of misconceptions around it which prevent its benefits from being recognised, as Katie Flaxman explains.


Peat has been banned from retail from 2024, but what are the alternatives? And are they good enough quality to replace peat? Lewis Normand explores the options.


The new prime minister is proving divisive, and is making radical changes. Marcus Watson considers how the green agenda as well as the economy may be impacted.


The construction sector has been posting impressive figures, but a downturn reported by Neil Edwards begs the questions as to whether this is short- or long-term.


Piet Oudolf has influenced numerous people (as proven in Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential this year), but we can adapt his method rather than copy it, says Noel Kingsbury.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 CONTENTS 7
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123 126 130


Green services provider, Nurture Landscapes Group, has completed the acquisition of grounds maintenance and landscaping business, Ray Skelton. The family-owned Harrogate business, established in 1983, becomes Nurture Group’s fifth acquisition this financial year, and the fourth in the North of England. With some significant contracts, including the US Airforce base at Menwith Hill and the Royal Army Foundation College in Harrogate, Ray Skelton will continue to operate from its Brackenwaith Farm base on the top of the Yorkshire Dales, given the unique geographical challenges it has become accustomed to.


Industry Updates

The Society of Garden Designers has announced 20 winners in its 10th annual SGD Awards, held in London last month.The Grand Award was presented to Tommaso del Buono MSGD for the gardens at the headquarters of Davines, a leading organic cosmetics company in Italy, and Matthew Childs won the coveted Judges’ Award for a pool garden in Surrey.

In addition to taking the Grand Award for Davines Village, Tommaso del Buono MSGD was given the award for best International Commercial or Community Landscape & Garden for the same project.

SGD Fellow and renowned garden designer, Sarah Eberle FSGD has been named as this year’s recipient of the

Society of Garden Designers Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is gifted by the Council of the Society of Garden Designer and granted to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape and garden design profession. Previous recipients have included Piet Oudolf and Beth Chatto. Last year, the award went to David Stevens.

In the Sustainability category, Sally Williams, who studied at Capel Manor College, became the first designer to win the new award which was presented for a project with a special focus on sustainability and the environment.


Pro Landscaper has revealed the shortlist for its fourth small project BIG IMPACT Awards 2022.

Pro Landscaper's small project BIG IMPACT Awards are a great chance for companies within the landscaping industry to show what can be done with amazing skills and creativity in smaller spaces with limited budgets.

Liz Hughes, from the headline partner Provender Nurseries, says: “It’s really good to be able showcase what the average person out there would spend on a garden and what they would get for it.”

With the FutureScape Event now at London’s famous ExCeL exhibition centre, and taking place over two days, Pro Landscaper's small project BIG IMPACT Awards will be taking place on Tuesday 15 November 2022.

A special thanks to headline partner Provender Nurseries and category partners, Medite Smartply, Stone Warehouse, Adtrak, CTD, Re-Flow Field Management, Westminister Stone, Van den Berk Nurseries, Readyhedge and Palmstead.

Head to the Pro Landscaper website for more information: small-project-big-impact

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 NEWS 8
©Paul Upward Photography

Furthermore, it will continue to operate under the Ray Skelton brand until the end of October, when it will be integrated into the Nurture Group brand. All of the management and operational teams will remain in place and supported by head of operations for the North East of England, Andrew Williams.

Nick Hills, COO – North England and Scotland for Nurture Group, says: “Ray Skelton has grown to be one of the largest horticultural service providers in North Yorkshire, and is responsible

for many prestigious sites. It is a traditional family business, and like us carry those values throughout from the leadership team through to the guys working on the ground.

"We are excited to welcome everyone into the Nurture Group family, including a very experienced operation workforce of more than 25 operatives delivering exceptional standards on site in landscape construction and grounds maintenance.”

Quote of the month

Judging by the packed room at its official launch, Darryl Moore’s book ‘Gardening in a Changing World: Plants, People and the Climate Crisis’ has come at the right time. Nigel Dunnett joined Darryl Moore and host Arit Anderson on stage, and called Darryl an “amazing artist, enabler, facilitator and collaborator”, saying that this book added ‘scholar’ to that list.

He said he was “amazed” by the book, comparing it to a PhD due to its research, but with information “communicated in a way that’s engaging”. Considering Nigel’s achievements as an accomplished author and influencer, this is certainly high praise.

Darryl said the book pulls together ideas which he has been considering for the last 20 years, and it was lockdown

Online exclusives


Rachel Platt won the People’s Choice Award at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2022 for her first show garden, ‘The Covid Recovery Garden’. She talks of her experience of the awards, the challenges she faced and her next steps. Rachel is also one of this year's 30 Under 30: The Next Generation winners – find out more on page 35.

Talking Point

which provided him an opportunity to finally put pen to paper. One of the biggest focuses of the book, as noted by Nigel, is that plants take centre stage.

“I think we need to develop a kinship with plants,” says Darryl. “We’ve had this disconnect with nature for such a long time...We treat plants really badly and then expect them to save us.”

So, talk turned to ‘plant communities’, and Nigel adapted Beth Chatto’s famous phrase to say: “Right plant, right place.” He added that “naturalistic planting” is almost a meaningless term; we need to instead look at “ecological planting” –all ideas raised by the launch of Darryl’s book, which could encourage us to look at plants in a different way.


Tyler Grange speaks to Pro Landscaper about how its four-day work week trail is going now that it has reached its halfway mark. The company introduced a four-day work week at the beginning of June, allowing its staff to work Monday to Thursday without a reduction in pay. tyler-grange-halfway-there/


We look at award-worthy employers who vied for the top spot in the category, which incorporates all aspects of being a well-respected employer. It celebrates recruitment processes, positive staff experiences, training and development opportunities as well as apprentices and retention.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 NEWS 9
Head to
It has been fantastic to celebrate gardening groups from across the UK who contribute so much to their communities. .. All of the volunteers work tirelessly to create areas local people can be proud of. Britain is most certainly blooming.”
Rachel de Thame, presenting the RHS Britain in Bloom 2022 awards



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Confidence remains low,



The number of factors contributing to the lack of confidence within the landscaping industry keeps growing – the cost-of-living crisis, the threat of recession, the summer heatwaves and overall uncertainty from clients themselves. Yet despite all of this, turnover remains steady, with 50% of respondents reporting no change compared to last year and full-time staff continue to grow with 45% of respondents having more full-time staff than last year.

The main consensus among our respondents in October is that they’re waiting for the new year to come with one stating: “I think clients are holding off with the uncertain times ahead and just planning for the future.” With so many changes over a short period of time, it is perhaps no surprise that clients and companies alike are waiting to see what happens next.

Confidence might still be low, with only 10% saying they feel more confident that last month, but this is a 2% increase from our last Barometer – perhaps confidence is (very) slowly on the rise?

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 NEWS 11
SCAN HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Nov DecJan Feb MarApr May JunJul Aug SepOct PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 2021 2022 2020

Garden Design

Garden design companies saw a steep increase in work over COVID-19, but that rise is starting to slow. One respondent commented that “lots of financial uncertainty is suppressing the market. The price of implementing a garden build these days has gone up by at least 50% compared with 18 months ago”. With this in mind, it could explain why 66% are seeing a decrease in projects.

Turnover Enquiries Projects Conversion


In addition to this, the end to the ‘post-COVID garden boom’ could also explain the dramatic decline in confidence this October compared to last October. One respondence said: “The enquiries are there still, but we have noticed we are winning less work; we think this is down to costs. However, a lot of previous clients have come back this month to work on additional projects,” suggesting that things are starting to balance out with clients starting to adapt to the new financial climate.


Interested to find out more?

Please email, visit our website or scan the QR code on the previous page.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 NEWS 12
STAFF Higher Equal Lower HigherEqual Lower HigherEqual Lower 0% 20%
40%60%80% 100%
45% BY THE NUMBERS CONFIDENCE NATIONALLY HAS DECREASED FOR 40% SAW A RISE IN STAFF SAW A DECREASE IN TURNOVER 35% ENQUIRIES PLUMMETED FOR 62%DECREASE IN PROJECTS 50% REPORTED A 15% 50% 35% 50% 25% 25% 45% 55% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Confidence last month Confidence last year

Is the party


Against a backdrop of political and economic turmoil, the BCLive league table of construction contracts awards fell short of its established norm to set alarm bells ringing across the UK construction sector. Whether this is a temporary storm, or the arrival of a bleak economic winter, remains to be seen. Neil Edwards looks back at a lacklustre month.

In an industry that is defined by its cyclical economic fortunes, it was naïve to think that it could last forever.

But when the end finally came, it was no less shocking. After more than three years in which it has not dipped below a monthly total of £4bn, the BCLive league table failed to hit the accepted norm in September 2022 to send shockwaves across the sector and to bring the prospect of a sector recession into sharp focus. While it is tempting to point accusing fingers at chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and prime minister Liz Truss, the seeds of this downshift were sewn long before they delivered their calamitous ‘mini-budget’.

In a month in which the BCLive league table peaked at just £3.83bn, the BCLive league table was propped up – yet again – by two evergreen providers of workload: The housebuilding sector and the nation’s capital.

The housebuilding sector contributed 122 individual projects worth a total of £1.4bn directly and a significant portion of the mixed-use developments listed under the table’s miscellaneous £432m monthly total. Regionally, London served up 108 new contract awards valued at a combined £1.1bn.

The resilience of both the housing sector and of London is reflected in a notable £125m project won by London Square Developments that requires the construction of 474 residential units split across four new tower blocks at Alperton in Wembley. The towers will range in height from 14 to 23 storeys and the project includes extensive public realm and landscaping including a new canal-side walkway.

Meanwhile, in Stoke-on-Trent, Bowmer and Kirkland has been awarded a mixed-use development at Glebe Street. The £60m project includes the erection of a new apartment building together with retail and leisure space, supporting infrastructure including accessible parking spaces and cycle parking, and associated works, and a hotel development with associated landscaping.

The East Midlands added a further £552m to the monthly total while the West Midlands (£354m) and the North West (£314m) enjoyed positive months. The same cannot be said of Wales which saw just 10 new contract awards and barely scraped past the £100m mark.

There remains a glimmer of hope that the figures for September 2022 were merely a blip; an anomaly caused by economic jitters from outside the construction industry. But, in recent months, there has been an upsurge in company liquidations. In a sector that is constantly reminded to fix the roof while the sun shines, the immediate future will favour those that heeded that warning. The bigger concern now is just how many will get wet if the current storm continues.


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

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 OPINION 14
The seeds of this downshift were sewn long before they delivered their calamitous ‘mini-budget’

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How do I set aside time for training?

When we first started out, upskilling was part of the daily routine; with a small team and boss on site, it was easy to monitor existing skills in the team and nurture skills depending on the task.

As the company grew, it became more difficult to monitor and keep the skills shared evenly within each team, so we had to find ways to monitor and put aside time for training where required.

Gaining regular feedback from site teams and managers is important to be able to create individual training development plans and keeping a training matrix so staff can see what skills they need to move to the next level within the company – this then encourages them to push to upskill.

Delivering training can be complicated as coordinating the relevant session, delivered at a time when both the trainees and the trainers are available and you are at the right point in a project, can be a challenge. Using dedicated training centres, such as The Landscape Academy, is hugely beneficial to take time out of the onsite work and focus on the actual skills and technical backup required for a certain task. Trying to deliver structured training on a live project is not always ideal when you are under pressure and committed to hitting a deadline.

Putting aside time to dedicate to training is also a challenge

The panel


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

when you have a backlog of work. Last year, we came up with the idea of working shorter hours over winter and banking time to then be used for training sessions on non-working days throughout the year.

Another idea is to habitually block out time (we do it during the very first week of the year before returning to site works) to deliver and update general training such as Health and Safety Awareness, abrasive wheel training, toolbox talk updates, fire and first aid refreshers and any other sessions for machinery or tools. Talk to suppliers; often they will provide CPD sessions or demonstration days that will provide invaluable knowledge at no cost, ensuring that equipment use is understood, and products are specified for the correct environment.

Don't be too busy to invest the time to upskill. Consider the benefits such as boosting confidence, improving productivity and empowering teams, you see how positive it can be for your employees and your company.

Now, techniques and products are far more technical than ever imagined, so investing in future skills is paramount to the success and longevity of projects. There is a huge increase in disputes, so it's important to put aside time for training to ensure correct installation techniques are used according to industry guidelines and British Standards.


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


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


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


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

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 202216
If your company is struggling to find time to upskill staff, Holly Youde has a few suggestions
Consider the benefits such as boosting confidence, improving productivity and empowering teams, you see how positive it can be...
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By utilising Schellevis® curb stones, as plank paving, GRDN Design transformed this London garden into the focal point of the client’s home. The lush, thick planting creates an eye-catching contrast against the grey paving.



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GRDN Design used a mixture of ornamental Japanese-style perennials, which overlaps the Schellevis® paving, to soften the straight edges of the paved areas. Hakonechloa Macra, Soleirolia soleirolii and a variety of ferns feature in the low-level planting.



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prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 202218
Design by GRDN Design Photography by Alister Thorpe KATE GOULD RHS CHELSEA 2022 CSC CERTIFICATE WINNER


Restorative gardens are one of the key themes for next year, as is sustainability as the RHS strives for its shows to be as green as possible

Sustainability and wellbeing will once again take centre stage at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, taking place from 23-27 May. Restorative gardens, in particular, will be a key theme amongst the 12 show gardens announced by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at a press conference this month.

Gold medal winner Tom Massey returns to the show with The Royal Entomological Society Garden, inspired by the biodiversity of brownfield sites. Design duo Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg are also returning to Chelsea with Horatio’s Garden, a wheelchair accessible space for patients recovering from spinal injury – a garden which Professor Alistair Griffiths, RHS director of science, says is “close to his heart” following his father’s accident last year.

The Hoban Cultural Foundation: Land of Healing, Korean Mountain Light garden by Korean designer Jihae Hwang will explore the success of a rewilding project in her home country. Following the theme of biodiversity, Jilayne Rickards is back with her second Chelsea garden, The Fauna & Flora International Garden, and Mark Gregory will be using zero concrete and

exploring new techniques for The Savills Garden, the sixth show garden he has designed and his 108th garden at Chelsea as a contractor. This kitchen garden will be “almost like a chef’s table,” says Mark, and he'll be working alongside the new sustainability manager at the RHS to create a sustainable space.

Chelsea itself will be more sustainable than ever this year. Every show garden must be relocated in some form, whether in full or in parts, and single-use plastic will be banned. Greener Festival has been helping the RHS explore how to reduce the show’s carbon footprint, and the organisation will now be working towards its events being entirely peat free and as green as possible by 2025.

Outside of its events, the RHS has appointed a peat-free postdoctoral fellow to help the horticultural trade transition to sustainable growing media. A £1m co-funded, five-year project led by the charity will convene government, growers and growing media manufacturers through the Growing Media Association and horticultural product supplier Fargro to research sustainable alternatives to peat in large-scale commercial settings.

The RHS has also appointed its first senior ecologist to help boost biodiversity across UK gardens.

Gemma Golding will be

designing and leading ecological surveys across the gardening charity’s five gardens, establishing baseline data on wildlife and developing recommendations to increase biodiversity in domestic spaces.

Next year’s Chelsea will be the first for new RHS director general Clare Matterson. As one of her first initiatives, Clare has announced a Children’s Picnic will take place at the spring event to help make the RHS more accessible and welcoming. In its first year, one hundred children will attend the picnic from schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas of London.

Several show gardens this year will also once again be supported by Project Giving Back. Seven charities have been selected for show gardens to be funded and raise awareness of their cause.

There are undoubtedly more announcements to follow of what else we can expect at Chelsea next year, but the biggest message coming across from the gardens so far is that the RHS is eager to have a wider impact and to steer conversations towards gardening and gardens being recognised for their vast benefits.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 19

With a teaching career in garden design now spanning almost four decades you might think that little would surprise me. Several weeks ago, I ran a one-day course for would-be garden designers in which I try to convey how this discipline works and how designers work within the profession.

I start by asking the audience what they think a garden designer typically does in their day-to-day work before working through the reality. When I came to the “garden designer as a businessman or woman”, it transpired that nobody had considered that aspect of garden design. I tried hard not to let the jaw drop but couldn’t help being surprised.

In the 80s when I started, students coming into garden design and taking those early courses often considered garden design something of a hobby. As the courses became more professional and as the profession itself grew and evolved that approach has long gone – or has it? I wondered what those prospective designers thought they would be doing and

Getting down to BUSINESS

how they might pay their bills, especially as we are seeing such sharp increases in the cost of living.

I was asked an interesting question just the other day by another student wondering whether it was courses such as mine that had contributed to the development of the profession or whether it was the profession that grew and demanded better training. I think it has probably been a mutual development. Although there are many partnerships and design practices now, they are still small businesses and they are totally outnumbered by the sole trader garden designer who has to be head cook and bottle washer. All need a workable business plan and all need to deal with profit and loss, taxation, VAT perhaps and overheads.

Having not encountered the hobbyist approach to garden design for many years now, I had thought that this concept might have died away – but now I’m not so sure. The profession is still unregulated, so in

theory anyone could wake up tomorrow and decide to be a garden designer. No-one has to undertake a course of any kind, but I think now it would be a fool who enters the garden design profession without some consideration for training and some understanding of how things work.

The students of mine who are most likely to succeed are those who have already researched the profession, talked to or contacted successful designers, who see the educational programme as part of a longer evolution from one career to the next or from their foundation education into a new venture. Part of their thinking will also be their business plan, how to fund their training and perhaps the first few years of practice post-graduation, talking to their partners and often to their banks which automatically links to a financial plan for the future.

Garden design is a fantastic career, but essentially it is just that: a career. Plan carefully.

Andrew Wilson reflects on the business of garden design and the perception of this discipline Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer. ANDREW WILSON
The profession is still unregulated, so in theory anyone could wake up tomorrow and decide to be a garden designer
.comPro Landscaper | November 202220 OPINION
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When we think about inclusivity and access in our cities, we may think about kerbs, surface finishes, and level differences. This line of thought is dealing with barriers for those with mobility impairments which, whilst an essential part of removing barriers and delivering inclusivity, isn’t creating the Equitable City.

In this I want to unearth the complexity of equity – because no single access need should reign above others – as well as highlight how we need to accelerate our collective thinking in urban design to remove access barriers for autistic people. Autistic people’s experience of cities varies and manifests in a variety of ways. Importantly for urban designers, however, many cities and urban environments make it very difficult for autistic people to thrive.

An autism-friendly city needs to begin by ensuring autistic people have access to all a city has to offer – all its spaces and sensory collections. I will not pretend that this is easy, because there is no one person that oversees shaping all the experiences in a city, nor one

single person controlling what autistic people specifically experience within that framework. The result of this is that spaces, streets and buildings can be profound barriers to access for some autistic people, with the urban environment becoming overwhelming. Sounds, sights, smells, colours, activity, and light can present barriers for autistic people, in much the same way a step is for someone in a wheelchair.

So, considering a spatial framework to create an autism friendly city, we must consider key themes that address sensory barriers. Sound can be both a calming air and inescapable prison for autists. When designing public spaces, we need to shape protected places within it that minimise background noises and echoes. Predictability and routine are a keystone of autism friendly environments – so, the designer needs to consider the flow of spaces and the connection between areas to maximise legible expectedness. Not alone in this requirement, autistic people need spaces of respite from the overstimulation of cities. Here, the designer needs to conceptualise calm pockets of protected space at regular intervals down a street, just as we provide benches regularly for some.

These ideas can also be used in connection to create safe walking environments through cities – where the experience of walking down an urban street can be escaped through access into a protected space which in turn acts as a transition space – a space to recalibrate one’s senses, before moving in a new direction with a different set of stimuli.

With a deeper understanding of the autism friendly city, we can start to remove barriers to access for more and more people, all whilst creating calmer places for everyone. As the disability mantra goes, ‘access for one is access for all’.

Christopher is a panellist for: The Green Highway: Retrofitting our high streets with urban greening, Tuesday 15 November, 2pm, Urban Greening Zone

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

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 23
Christopher Martin explores how we can create better public spaces for those with autism
Spaces, streets and buildings can be profound barriers to access for some autistic people, with the urban environment becoming overwhelming

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Rewilding – a highly emotive word conjuring up images from overgrown verges to wild tracts of remote landscape. As often comes with emotive subjects, rewilding is a divisive topic too, often sparking heated debates over both land use and the blurred lines between ugly and beautiful.

We recently attended the Beth Chatto Symposium entitled ‘Rewilding the Mind’, an inspirational list of speakers sharing projects, insight and best practice on rewilding land and health. What was interesting, there was the juxtaposition between macro and micro; how the need for global and nationally driven strategy fitted alongside the smaller landscapes upon which many of us work.

There’s a misconception that rewilding is just leaving land to its own devices. This might form part of the management of landscapes but in terms of design, we are often actively creating wilder landscapes. With the influence of climate change, this is more complex than ever and as professionals we are having to continually grow and adapt to meet environmental change.

Take climate resilient planting for example. Our native flora and fauna have intricate webs of symbiotic relationships,

REWILDING Rethinking

Often misunderstood, rewilding – or simply ‘wilding’ –will lead to more sustainable land management practices, says Katie Flaxman

relying on each other for food, habitat, breeding and more. However, many of the trees and plants woven into these webs won’t survive the ongoing climatic changes.

Planting alternative, climate resilient flora, though, displaces the sometimes hundreds of species which might rely on just one tree. Indeed, there have been studies suggesting it takes a mix of five or more climate resilient trees to replace the habitat provided by just one.

This connects with the concept of bottom-up trophic cascade where, in the absence of most top predators in this country, we need to consider how the flora we plant impacts on the other plant, entomological, avian and so on species which cascade upwards in the food chain.

Rewilding means assessment. It means looking at existing soil conditions, times of year and long-term management plans. We need to consider habitat corridors; joining up small oases of land with other small oases to create spaces that transient species can travel between.

We need to think about water too. It’s commonly accepted that if we need to irrigate, we have failed, but where even many ‘dry gardens’ suffered this summer, this is a greater challenge than ever.

Rewilding asks us to lean towards the more natural land management methods of years gone by, where heavy machinery and chemical treatments simply weren’t

available. Working with the land was the only option to create a thriving ecosystem, crop or garden and this is what is being asked of us now.

With so much changing so quickly and so much to consider, rewilding can, at times, feel an overwhelming responsibility but it’s a necessary one. Perhaps we can’t really rewild at all and what we are doing is simply ‘wilding’, but whichever it is, we remain set on our path to keep producing thriving naturalistic landscapes which also benefit the environment.

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

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 OPINION 25
Rewilding asks us to lean towards the more natural land management methods of years gone by, where heavy machinery and chemical treatments simply weren’t available
©Dabir Bernard
©Richard Loader

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“Westminster Stone offers strong trade benefits and works with all professions specifying and buying paving and flooring for residential, commercial and retail projects.

Stand J73

"We are the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of traditional reproduction Stonecast paving and flooring and the only retailer of the prestigious National Trust Paving Collection.

"Westminster Stone’s natural stone collection is a comprehensive range of ethically sourced products including limestone, sandstone, slate and granite. For contemporary design, our ranges of finest Italian porcelain offer stone, quartz and wood-effect ranges perfect for residential or commercial projects.

"With nearly 40 years in the business, our reputation for quality, service and craftsmanship speaks for itself. Visit us at Futurescape, Stand J73 and begin your journey with us.”


“Are you looking for quality plants for your next project? Visit the Johnsons of Whixley team on stand C22 and see a display of hardy quality plants grown in the Vale of York by nursery experts. Johnsons is a family-run business that has been enhancing commercial landscapes with quality plants and trees for over 100 years and is a trusted supplier to the amenity sector. Visit the Johnsons team and discuss your planting requirements and don’t forget to sign up for their prize draw to be in for a chance to win a night’s stay at luxury hotel Grantley Hall.”

Make sure you stop by these stands at this year’s FutureScape , from 15-16 November at the ExCeL London


“There’s plenty to see on the Palmstead Nurseries stand at FutureScape –including innovative ways to virtually explore our nursery and specimen centre with newly commissioned drone footage and a brand new interactive ‘Virtual Tour’ facility, giving a unique birds-eye view of our site in the heart of Kent.

“Come to stand F82 to find out why we have just been named the HTA’s ‘Best Inspirational Business’ for 2022, ask about a bespoke contract grow service for commercial and designer customers or explore our Click & Collect service and ‘live’ stock levels for online orders. Be part of our community by following us on Instagram, TikTok or whatever platform you prefer!”

“Decking, pedestal and green roof specialist Wallbarn is exhibiting a range of products at FutureScape.

• New Class A1 fire-rated extruded porcelain decking boards for use in non-combustible projects. Ideal for areas subject to heavy pedestrian traffic.

• Class A aluminium rail sub-structure, a beam support system for non-combustible decking/tiling systems.

• Thermo Bamboo and Bamboo Elegance, sustainable premium quality ultra-hard compressed bamboo fibre decking with a 25-year performance warranty covering moisture/mould resistance.

• Award-winning M-Tray modular green roof system. Available in sedum and wildflower varieties. Physically fire tested and fire rated B Roof T(4).”

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 PROMOTION 29
Stand F82
Stand C22 WALLBARN Stand F31


“Nexus Pro Systems Ltd is the British founded company responsible for the PROJOINT™ range of innovative paving products. At FutureScape, we will be exhibiting every PROJOINT™ product which has been specifically formulated to ensure that the priming, pointing, and cleaning of natural stone and porcelain paving is a simple, fast, and easy process for professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. Visit our FutureScape exhibition stand and benefit from two days of exclusive deals on our core product ranges, with an exclusive special offer on our recently launched product ‘PROJOINT RAPIDFLOW’ an all new ‘Brush-in Porcelain Grout’ formulation. Think Paving, think ProJoint™.”


“Landscapes across the UK are facing the impacts of climate change and the need to develop greater resilience. Fundamentally our sector has a crucial role to play in the green recovery repairing damaged habitats, degraded landscapes and neglected places; delivering green infrastructure, water-sensitive urban design and sustainable drainage systems.

“For the last 20 years, Maylim has been involved in the delivery of placemaking projects throughout London, and we have seen the balance shift in favour of urban greening. We are delighted to partner with the Urban Greening Zone at FutureScape 2022 and debate the challenges and opportunities facing the sector during our seminar ‘Creating and Sustaining the Green’ on Wednesday 16 November at 2pm in the Urban Greening Theatre. Visit us at Stand B54 to discuss your urban greening project.”


“Platipus has been supplying innovative solutions and award-winning service to the landscape industry for over 40 years. At this year’s FutureScape, it will be showcasing its comprehensive range of tree anchoring and irrigation systems together with G-WALL®, an easy to install modular system that will allow even the most inexperienced gardener to transform bare boundaries or spaces into vibrant colourful living walls. Visitors can expect to see both products on display on stand C92 and the Platipus team will be available to demonstrate how all the solutions work, answer any questions and provide specification guidance.”


“As the UK’s largest manufacturer of extruded wood composites, Alvic’s excited to introduce you to our vast range of products! These premiumquality products are the culmination of decades of knowledge, research, and experience — a heritage spanning over four decades. Visit our stand at the FutureScape Expo 2022 to view our extensive product range, including our capped composite ranges: decking (three ranges), fencing (flat, slatted, and retrofit), and cladding (flat, castellation, and foam.) Our experts are eager to meet you and discuss how Alvic’s products and services can add value to your business!”


“Join Arbor Forest Products to discover the very best of Trex, the world’s number one composite decking brand. The team of experts will be on hand with samples to answer questions about Trex composite decking, which offers a low maintenance, high performance solution, with A 25-year residential warranty. It’s also an opportunity to discover a selection of complementary products including ArborClad and ArborFence. The team will be on hand to discuss how you can become a certified TrexPRO installer, with benefits including training on all Trex products and access to a marketing support fund.”

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 PROMOTION 30
Stand C91 Stand C92 Stand B54
Stand F70
Stand K50

The class of2022

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 30 UNDER 30 33


Talk of a skills gap in horticulture continues, and we’re always discussing as an industry how to attract more young people. For us, the 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards are a chance for us to recognise those who we have fortunately drawn towards to the sector – and those who will hopefully help to attract others too.

Now in their eighth year, we have celebrated 240 people aged 30 or under – including this year’s alumni – who are achieving extraordinary things, and there was unfortunately not enough space over the next few pages to list all their wonderful and impressive accomplishments. But it’s not just the achievements of this year’s winners which make them stand out. We also want to celebrate their bold and ambitious goals, which don’t stop at their own personal development.

The winners of this year’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation are vying to make a difference and have a wider impact on the industry. Their goals range from improving and increasing sustainable practices, raising awareness of mental health and making the industry more diverse. Nearly half (43%) of this year's winners identify as women, and many of them spoke of the importance of bringing in more women to the industry – and how they plan to do it.

Fortunately for us, they’re also dedicated to ensuring there is a ‘next generation’ to celebrate years from now. Amongst the winners, you’ll see founders of the Young People in Horticulture Association, ambassadors of GoLandscape, those who have gone into mentoring and those who plan to teach others the skills and experiences they have learned.

"The winners of this year’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation are vying to make a difference and have a wider impact on the industry"

From the sponsor

Yes, we still have a skills gap, and yes, there is more work to be done. But for now, we can appreciate the extraordinary talent of these young people and feel optimistic about the future of the industry with them in it.

Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you to our sponsor, Green-tech, which continues to see the importance of this initiative and its impact. Its unwavering support for the next generation, showcased through the development of its own team, continues to raise the bar.

Well done to the class of 2022!

Congratulations to all winners of the Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards. It is a significant achievement and one which will help springboard careers. As the managing director of Green-tech I am proud to sponsor these awards which recognise and celebrate the exceptional talent of the younger generation within our industry. A career in landscaping, horticulture, arboriculture, or garden design is a worthwhile and respected choice. By running these awards, Pro Landscaper provides the opportunity to raise the profile of these sectors; and those that enter demonstrate first-hand the opportunities available. The winners are great advocates for what can be achieved, and they have the perfect platform to encourage other younger people within the industry to also aim high.”

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Proud sponsors of:

• A trusted supplier to the landscaping, forestry and construction industries for over a quarter of a century • Over 10,000 product lines with extensive stockholding and a robust supply chain • Renowned for our professional advice and excellent customer care • Nationwide, flexible and next day delivery options • A comprehensive programme of CPD seminars and training seminars landscapes start here T: 01423 332100 @greentechuk @greentechltd green-tech-ltd Landscape • Forestry • Construction • Ecology • Groundworks • Specification • Grounds Maintenance



Aged just 17, George had built a client base as a gardener, even bringing on other local gardeners as subcontractors. He spent a few years in a different industry but returned to horticulture and joined Harry Holding Garden Design, where he took on various roles and worked his way up to supervisor, now managing six aftercare teams. He is also largely responsible for managing many of the soft landscaping projects carried out by the company and project managed the build of an awardwinning garden which was also filmed for Channel 4’s Grand Designs. As sustainability champion for the company, he strives towards reducing its carbon footprint and is helping to deliver Green Walls in Schools, where government funding will be used to create green spaces in deprived, inner-city schools.


Since joining the industry in 2017 from the farming sector, Ainsley hasn’t looked back. He’d studied Agricultural Crop Management before working in grounds maintenance and tree surgery, subcontracting to other firms and becoming a qualified groundsman and climber. He undertook further training to progress his grounds maintenance offering, and in the four years since founding his own company he has gained numerous accreditations, including becoming a BALI member. Ainsley is aiming for his company to be recognised across the industry for the quality of its work, but also for the “environment we create for our workers”, putting wellbeing of staff at the heart of the business. He also wants to help the younger generation progress by taking on students and apprentices.



Readers may recognise Oliver for his appearance as a featured designer on BBC2’s Your Garden Made Perfect, or from Pro Landscaper’s Let’s Hear It From interview back in the April issue. He has run his own design practice since 2016, offering a full design service as well as completing the soft landscaping works, and often undertakes hard landscaping too. Five years ago, he started as a lecturer at Writtle University College, holding a BSc (Hons) himself in Landscape and Garden Design and an MA in Landscape Architecture.“I love to create, and I aspire to inspire,” says Oliver, who is a member of the Society of Garden Designers. He is well on his way to achieving his goal of becoming a well-known designer, and aims to showcase his designs through show gardens, magazine features and on TV.



Starting at Creepers last year working on the nursery itself, Sam soon moved into a sales role. He’d previously worked for landscaping firms on large projects and had undertaken freelance work too, mostly soft landscaping and gardening. Within the sales department, Sam quickly developed a portfolio of clients, and he now manages several of the nursery’s top accounts. He was involved in the supply of trees and plants to a number of gardens and trade stands at RHS shows this year, and he recently closed the largest sale seen at Creepers, all whilst managing two of the business’ biggest accounts. Sam is now looking to get more involved in the marketing at Creepers, with the aim of becoming the marketing manager. But in the longer term, Sam hopes to create his own company which helps designers and landscapers to manage projects whilst having a focus on using locally sourced materials.


Isaac’s love for the industry came about when he was working for his brother, Jake, as an apprentice at the age of 15. Whilst working for The Landscaping Consultants, he started on high-end schemes, and has now been a project leader for the last three years, overseeing all aspects of soft and hard landscaping for “well respected designers” such as Ann-Marie Powell and Gavin McWilliams. Isaac was team leader for the RHS Back to Nature Garden, designed by Davies White and HRH The Princess of Wales (then the Duchess of Cambridge) for Hampton Court in 2019. He was also project leader for Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know at Chelsea whilst leading the installation team for the The Meta Garden: Growing the Future in the same year.

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For Leo, compassion is the most important part of being a landscape architect. “Compassion is key as it is the ability for one to feel empathy for others and wish to help them. A great landscape architect would be able to place themselves in others’ shoes,” he says. Leo gained an MA in Landscape Architecture in 2019, , and joined The terra firma Consultancy in the same year. He worked as an intern for the Transverse Studio in Hong Kong prior to this, and earlier this year achieved his chartership. Leo has an optimistic outlook going forward: “We might be living in a challenging era where we and our next generation are likely to experience extreme weather and a deteriorating environment. However, I have confidence in myself and fellow co-workers that there are endless opportunities for us to put this right.”


Eight years ago, Marcus started working as a labourer for Frosts Landscapes, for which he completed two series of ITV show Love Your Garden. Since, he has built a garden and a trade stand for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as well as two gardens as part of a team for Tatton Park. He has now been self-employed for more than a year and was part of the construction team for Superbloom at the Tower of London. He says he hopes to leave his mark on the sector by continuing to build high quality gardens. He also plans for his business to grow and is finding ways to inspire the younger generation. Marcus’ 16-year-old relative is now working with him, and Marcus says he is showing him about landscaping and what is involved, which has helped to develop a passion for this industry. "I believe that showing any younger person what this industry entails and what it gives back will encourage them to join,” says Marcus.


Aaron’s passion for his role, and the impact it has on the environment, is impressive. He joined Tim O’Hare Associates four years ago, boasting a bachelor’s degree in Geography and an MA in Environmental Management. Throughout his studies and his dissertation, Aaron had investigated soil carbon levels, and was drawn to his current role to ensure soil is re-used as sustainably as possible. He plans to play a role in preserving UK soil resources by reducing the amount of soil which is unnecessarily exported off site or lost as waste. Aaron also aims to progress within Tim O’Hare Associates and become a “well-rounded consultant” within the landscape industry, specialising in soil science.




Louis started his landscaping career as a labourer aged 17 before becoming a self-employed fencer, contracting for a local firm. He joined Maydencroft for a year before leaving in 2013 but returned to the company seven years later as a contracts manager. He says his passion for the industry came to light in his time away from it. Louis now works with a variety of clients, from local authorities and utility companies to private clients. “Although my work is my passion, the real goal is to help others realise what they have around them to enjoy and all of the while enhancing the environment and biodiversity of an area,” says Louis. He hopes to continue progressing at Maydencroft, whose vision and goals he says align perfectly with his.


Andrea has worked her way up to client relationship manager, establishing a new team within a part of the business to create growth. One of her proudest achievements is being part of the team delivering the Severn Trent in Partnership with the Commonwealth Games tree planting scheme. Andrea was selected to partake in the company’s Leadership Academy and also to attend the Women of the Future event. Her ultimate career goal within the industry is to be in a position to influence the establishment of a more diverse workforce, ideally establishing women’s networksin the industry, such as the Women’s Utilities Network of which Andrea is a part.

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Having gained a BSc (Hons) degree in Architecture, James went travelling for a year, and when he returned, he took a seasonal job in grounds maintenance which then became his passion. He has now worked for Glendale Countryside Ltd for two and a half years, working his way up to team leader. James has also now been assigned a mentoring role and has been supporting the development of an apprentice. He is currently on a management development programme, attending a range of internal training courses, and is undertaking leadership and management studies at Myerscough College. Ultimately, he hopes to become a senior manager at Glendale, and to be an influencer within the company but also the industry.


Just three years after graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree in Horticulture, Georgia has become one of the youngest members of the Green-tech team to achieve the role of key account manager. She started at the company as a specification administrator, but her passion and enthusiasm for wildflowers was quickly noted and a new role was created for her as wildflower manager within the John Chambers team. She wants to “educate people and promote the benefits of wildflowers,” and regularly gives talks and presentations. Earlier this year, Georgia became a GoLandscape ambassador and now visits schools and colleges to inspire the next generation into the industry. She has also been tasked with developing a plan for how Green-tech can best advise customers on products which will achieve the most significant Biodiversity Net Gain once it comes into effect.



Six years ago, Arron started at Green-tech as a sales advisor, with little experience in sales or landscaping. He quickly showed promise, and two years later was promoted to technical sales advisor, with a different customer base and higher sales target. Arron’s now achieving more than £1m of sales turnover as just one of five key account managers across the business. He plans to continue to build his knowledge and experience, but also to explore new markets and product opportunities. Driven and ambitious, Arron is hoping to be instrumental in helping Green-tech to break into the Irish landscape market and to become the number one supplier in this sector.


A “proud mental health champion,” Umut takes part in numerous charity events and fundraising efforts to help raise awareness across the industry, most recently joining in with the construction industry’s Mental Health World Cup. He started his career as an apprentice at Carillion before joining Maylim as a labourer in 2017. After two years, he became a trainee engineer at the King’s Cross redevelopment whilst studying a BTEC Level 3 in Civil Engineering, and two years later was promoted to site engineer. He took on his current role this year and is now heavily involved in the planning, coordination and supervision of the technical aspects of Maylim’s projects. Umut opted to become a mentor and has trained two engineers, both of whom were promoted to assistant site engineers. He is now aiming to become a project manager,“to take on more advanced and challenging roles within the industry and build my own teams.”


With a strong belief in the role landscape architecture can play when looking at emerging challenges and social development forms, Aili’s goal is to be a leader for sustainable and resilient design by focusing on early design involvement. For the last three years, Aili has been with WSP, working on local and national projects. She leads the landscape architecture team’s incorporation of WSP’s Future Ready® initiative, which is the firm’s approach to planning, design and delivery of infrastructure projects for tomorrow’s challenges. Before WSP, Aili worked for a Brisbane-based firm on a variety of projects, including the 2018 Commonwealth games Athletes Village –a personal highlight for Aili. She has undertaken numerous volunteer roles and recently played a leading role in several projects transforming existing highway corridors into city parks, after WSP was approached by councils to look at development of towns post-COVID-19.

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Mollie has a boundless appreciation for horticulture, which she says has been in her family for generations. She works for family business New Leaf Plants, running the mail order and dispatch area whilst being on the road for nearly half the year as the northern sales representative. In 2020, Mollie set up the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA) with two others “to reignite our industry by creating an association for people under 35.” It has now become a recognised association. Mollie has also become the youngest member to sit on the HTA council too as its West Midlands representative. Her ambition is to become managing director of New Leaf Plants and for both the company and YPHA to continue to thrive. She aims to drive change within horticulture through education and diversity.”


For the last two years, James has worked at Guarda Landscape as a landscape architect, assisting with designs across various projects, ranging from large residential schemes to small domestic gardens. Prior to this he was a wholesale nursery worker for Robin Tacchi Plants, expanding his knowledge of planting strategies. With a BSc (Hons) degree in landscape architecture himself, James’ goal is to go into teaching in order to educate the next generation. He would also love to run his own practice eventually and have more of a prominent role within the industry.“I eventually want to be able to have made such a mark within the landscape industry that I am able to showcase my work and inspire others through my designs,” says James.


“[The landscaping industry] gives me a career where I can exercise my passions whilst creating work that others can enjoy and appreciate,” says Luke, who has been with Ashworth Landscapes for the last year. He started landscaping aged 17 during the summer break from sixth form and helped out a small landscaping company whilst at university. When he graduated, he went to work for the company full time before joining a builders’ merchant in the tool hire department. Luke missed landscaping and the outdoors, though, so joined MBM Landscapes, where he was promoted from operative to site supervisor. Since joining Ashworth, he has undertaken his first show garden build at Hampton Court, running the build and managing the team alongside Ashworth’s director. He hopes to become an authority on the new and cutting-edge side of landscaping.


Rumeysa has been working as a landscape architect for the last three years, after studying for an undergraduate degree – and now an MA – at Istanbul Technical University. She worked on various landscape projects whilst at Wageningen University in the Netherlands too during her undergraduate education. For two and a half years, Rumeysa worked as a landscape architect for in Istanbul before joining Gillespies this summer, focusing on public realm projects in the UK and the Middle East. Her ambition is to establish “voluntary landscape institutes” in different areas to “inform local groups, especially youth and children, about the profession, its effect on the environment and solutions.”

Ambitious and hard-working, Georgina has been running her own business for the last three years, designing, installing and maintaining plants for a range of commercial and residential clients in London. Her focus is on indoor gardening, and she won the prolific contract to maintain the plants for reputable restaurant Sushi Samba in Covent Garden, which is known for its jungle-like interior. This sparked other businesses in the area to approach Georgina too. She now also works with IFM on a freelance basis to install seasonal planting for the Covent Garden Estate. She says her ambition is to “make London greener” and grow her business to employ a team.“I want to be known for creating unique designs that focus on meeting the needs of both plants and people."

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Climate conscious design is a top priority for Alex, so much so that he is Outerspace’s Climate Action Champion. He sees modern day landscape architects as “city fixers” and was invited to speak on the Green Room Podcast to discuss the challenges and changes needed for the profession to embrace the circular economy. As a judge for the Landscape Institute Awards this year, he will be ensuring sustainable designs are championed and celebrated, and with Outerspace’s director he is putting together two CPD courses, one on Biodiversity Net Gain and the other on Human Nature in Public Space. He will also be visiting his old secondary school’s careers fair to inspire the next generation of landscape architects.



Landscape architecture is a “lifestyle”, says Nicola. She has been working with WATG within the hospitality sector for five and and half years, working for a couple of years for WATG Singapore. Nicola returned to London in 2020 when she was quickly promoted to project designer and has since been promoted again to her current role as associate project landscape architect. She has two big goals, one of which is that she would “like to focus on the energy in the office by creating healthy work environments, celebrating equality, building team spirit and fostering confidence and passion.” In the field, she’d like to create “outstanding designs” which are “truly functional ecosystems for people and nature to thrive within.”



For the last two years, Aimee has taken over the full responsibility for running the family franchise her father set up – Countrywide Yorkshire –winning several new contracts in this short period. She first gained interest in horticulture by helping out her father on the tools at the weekend, before joining the company full time in 2013. Two years later, Aimee moved to the finance team and now manages more than 20 staff and over 400 annual contracts, overseeing the operational and commercial management for the franchise. She is working with Countrywide’s head office to develop a mental health champion in the region, and plans to be “a female at the forefront, pushing a successful business”, as an inspiration to others.



After spending a decade in hospitality, Laura decided to switch careers and join the horticulture industry. “I was swayed to change career... to be outside working with the landscapes and to create more green spaces,” says Laura. She started out as a retail assistant at Clifton Nurseries before working at Le Jardin de Monet and for The Botanical Gardener. Laura has since been working her way up at Bowles & Wyer. She’s gained an RHS Level 2 and 3 diploma and is now working towards a Level 3 in Garden Design after her application to build a border at the Belvoir Castle Flower Show was selected. Laura is also looking at ways to further connect people in the industry via social media, with a number of small groups having already connected and visited gardens together.



Ellie grew up around the family business, but she didn’t join Stoneworld until 2020 as business development manager, sourcing new leads and developing relationships with B2B clients. A year later, Ellie took on the role of sales manager to oversee all aspects of sales operations and growth. Her aim is for Stoneworld to become one of the leading specialists and suppliers in natural stone and landscaping materials, but Ellie also wants to help encourage more women to join the stone industry. She is one of the founding members of Women in Natural Stone, which was set up to recognise “the brilliance of women currently working in the the stone industry” and to champion the need for more women to enter the sector through networking and mentoring groups.

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Rachel went to her first RHS show when she was six, and has been hooked ever since. She graduated with distinction from the Oxford College of Garden Design in 2019 and set up Rachel Platt Garden Design. Since starting her own practice, she has also freelanced for Matt Haddon, Manoj Malde and The Garden Design Company, and worked in the maintenance department for Coleby & Faulkner. This year, she was runner up for RHS Young Designer of the Year at Tatton Park; whilst she might not have scooped up the top prize, the garden was awarded a Silver-Gilt medal as well as the Best Construction Award and the People’s Choice Award for the category.


Last year, Natalie Porter was promoted to sales director of the family bedding plant business, Happy Plants. She joined eight years ago and has since been forging its reputation as a leading supplier to the UK’s top garden centres. She has led a 500% increase in turnover in that time and has helped the business to operate more profitably. During lockdown, Natalie devised a ‘plant drive thru’ to generate income and was involved in lobbying for garden centres to be reclassified as essential businesses. With two others, she founded – and is president of – the Young People in Horticulture Association, bringing together 300 people aged 35 and under. Natalie is also the youngest member of the HTA’s Ornamental Management Committee.




An allotment reignited Cesca’s fascination with nature. Two years ago, they left their budding career at a software company and started to advertise gardening services as a sole trader. In the same year, they started a degree in horticulture, and they have “not felt lost since”. Before they had even graduated, Cesca started at Creative Roots in Nottingham and now splits their time between hands-on aftercare and managing a team of seven gardeners at the company. “I am entirely intoxicated with my career,” says Cesca, who was selected for the regional semi-finals for Young Horticulturist of the Year, but after being unable to attend is hoping to reapply. They also hope to undertake an MHort or equivalent and to specialise in native and ecologically conscious gardens.

Circumstances led Rosie to set up her own business when she graduated as a landscape architect, and whilst she thought it would be temporary, she says it launched her career and continues to be self-employed four years on. Alongside her own work, Rosie has been working as a landscape designer for James Bird Landscapes for nearly four years. She was shortlisted in the Industry Collaboration category for the Pro Landscaper Business Awards last year and has received the Best of Houzz Service Award for the last two years. Whilst Rosie enjoys designing private gardens, she says she is most passionate about semi-public spaces such as hospitals, schools and small community projects. In the future, Rosie is looking to establish to a team “with a shared passion for delivering thoughtful, well-considered landscapes that have long-lasting benefits.”


From conservation, forestry and arboriculture, through to project management, landscape architecture and urban design, Niall Williams has covered an array of sectors in the industry. He founded his own landscape architecture practice three years ago after graduating from university with an MA in Landscape and Urbanism. He has also launched a successful podcast series – The People, Place and Nature Podcast – focusing on environmental topics. This year, he was appointed as director of a new development company, Insignia Land and Legacy, which works with landscape led and restorative development practices. Niall has a long list of achievements, such as being the first elected non-chartered board member of the Landscape Institute and being invited to speak at a variety of events, like the world’s first UK World Forum on Urban Forestry.

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“Recognition of importance of specific soil requirements for different planting environments.”
“Meeting the challenge of cost by developing a model that highlights capital gained from the benefits of landscape designs.”
“Ensuring that all companies, no matter how large or small, work to a high standard of health & safety.”
“There is an imbalance in gender diversity in the industry that needs to be addressed.”
“More workshops to refresh and educate on new initiatives so managers can better understand what is happening at ground level and employees’ needs.”
“Better legislation in the planning process for new developments that challenges developers to create higher quality living environments.”
“Better regulation; if we can regulate our work with relevant qualifications, it would mean better job opportunities and higher pay to be able to compete with the other industries.”
“Being more open to change.”
“More accountability on companies’ ethics and sustainability.”
“More mental health first aiders.”
“More women in the industry.”
“A greater collaboration between both competitors and colleagues within the sector.”
“More transparent supply chains and ethical resourcing of materials.”
“Promotion to younger generations.”
“Sustainability goals being properly actioned.” GEORGE ATACK
“More UK based nurseries, to supply plants not just in the landscape sector but also in garden centres.” LAURA MCARTHUR
“Looking at a biofuel will be much more sustainable.”
“A more collective industry focusing on the climate emergency.
“We need to get better at talking to other people, not just ourselves.”
“Better representation of minority demographics.”




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The Association celebrates by futureproofing itself with a new strategy

For half a century, the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) has been serving its members. And whilst its reason for being has remained the same since it started, it has a new strategy to ensure it is around for another 50 years and more.

Founded in 1972 by a handful of landscapers, the British Association of Landscape Industries filled a void. “There were a group of founding members who decided that the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) wasn’t particularly focused on landscaping. The HTA, and still to a certain extent today, is very much focused on retail and growers. So, Jeffrey Bernhard, our first chairman, got a small group of people together at Merrist Wood College back in 1972 and they decided they would set up their own group, which later more formally became a registered company and association through Companies House,” explains the association’s chief executive Wayne Grills.

It wasn’t just for landscapers, though. “It’s not the British Association of Landscapers; it’s Industries, which means that it’s everybody within the industry hopefully coming together. That was always their vision, which was quite forward-thinking at the time.

“Garden designers wasn’t a category of membership until a number of years later, but the intention was always there to include them where we could. A lot of companies were offering their own design services at the time, so the concept of garden designers wasn’t quite the same as it is today.”

Now, it encompasses landscapers and garden designers as well as suppliers and training providers. Its membership has soared to around 950 – a number Wayne is looking to grow with the association’s new three-year strategy. It has set out a bold vision, mission and values to implement over the next few years.

Its vision is to become the essential accreditation partner for all landscaping professionals. “It doesn’t matter which part of the

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 47
IN 1972

industry you’re in, if you’re in any area of landscaping then you can be part of the association. It’s about being more allencompassing and obviously looking to the students as the landscapers of tomorrow.”

To achieve its vision, part of the association’s mission is to represent, support and accredit the landscape industry, providing training, professional advice and opportunity to its members and quality assurance to their clients. And whatever we do on behalf of our members can have an impact on the wider industry also, says Wayne, whether it be developing standards or lobbying.

“We lobby for the benefit of our members, but there are certain changes that we make or in-roads with government departments that actually benefit the wider industry for the long term, and that’s very much part of what we’re looking to continue moving forward.”

Take the changes to red diesel usage which came into effect in April. Association

representatives met with Craig Williams MP, who at the time was the private secretary to Rishi Sunak as the chancellor. “We had a direct link into the treasury and the chance of changing things, and Craig was very keen to take that forward, but unfortunately stepped down when all the issues with Boris Johnson took place. So, we’ll continue that plight, on the public service aspect of maintaining parks and green spaces for the health and wellbeing of individuals.”

Perhaps the associations biggest challenge with government was at the start of the pandemic, though, when every industry was left wondering whether they could continue to operate. Within two days of a nationwide lockdown being announced, BALI had agreed a format for handling the uncertainty, including who would be reviewing government statements and breaking them down to provide this information for members.

Strategy 2022 – 2025


To become the essential accreditation partner for all landscape professionals.


We represent, support and accredit the landscape industry, providing training, professional advice and opportunity to members, and quality assurance to their clients.

Prior to COVID-19, the association had fortunately invested in technology that would allow employees to work from home and for the association to conduct webinars. “As an organisation, we had three responsibilities: one, to members, but also to staff and to the board.”

So, the association explored ways to ensure staff felt appreciated, supported and part of the team, despite working remotely, including a monthly gift and a ‘plant your own Christmas tree’ gift at the end of the year. It also reminded staff of the health and wellbeing options available to them, such as WeCare and access to a 24-hour GP service.

From a political point of view, though, it was arguably more difficult. “We wrote to our members and asked if they could cease trading for 48 hours while we tried to make some sense of the initial lockdown. Some thought it was great, and some people didn’t, but our want was to provide as much


Support endeavour

• We help people to identify and achieve their ambitions

• We invest time and resources in developing skills

• We collaborate and share knowledge for mutual bene t

Encourage innovation

• We look for better ways of doing things in every area of our business

• We nur ture creative thinking and entrepreneurial behaviour

• We encourage and reward new ideas, wherever they come from

Celebrate excellence

• We set and uphold high standards for ourselves and others

• We use our expertise to add value

• We recognise and reward high performance

Demonstrate leadership

• We anticipate and react to the needs of others

• We take a long-term view, working toward a common goal

• We promote ethical, environmental and commercial sustainability

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 202248
It’s not the British Association of Landscapers; it’s Industries, which means that it’s everybody within the industry hopefully coming together

information to members in order to help them make sensible decisions about themselves, their own business and their employees – and, ultimately, the end clients. But the government guidance for construction wasn’t particularly helpful.”

So, the association stepped in and created its own on-site operations guidance for members, enhancing what the government had produced. It also wrote to Defra, who simply provided links to its website. The Scottish government, on the other hand, were proactive in their approach to industries.

“Within weeks they had put together a roundtable meeting, which included the minister for the environment in Scotland at the time, so we were having weekly ministerial roundtable meetings with them to try to understand what was happening in industry, what the issues and barriers were, and the positives too. Our site operating procedures received approval from Scottish government; disappointingly we got nothing back from Defra or Westminster on that front.”

The ministerial roundtables still take place today, though are now once a month and have a different focus, such as Brexit and generally keeping in touch with industry. It’s just one of the achievements for the association in its 50-year history. One of the most important highlights, though, is perhaps less obvious: vetting committees being set up to improve the standard of those coming into the association, something which the association continues to work on with the help of NAG Solution’s Richard Gardiner.

“We moved away from a check box system to more of a management quality standards system. Our vetting officers and quality standards review officers undertake two different roles; the initial vetting when someone first comes on board, and then making sure that they are maintaining their standards on a periodic basis.”

The vetting officer will ensure they have information on the company’s policies, procedures, and systems, as well as 10 client references and two trade references, before visiting a number of the applicant’s landscape schemes, at least one of which must be a working site. They must have been trading for at least two years, and if they are unsuccessful, the association provides the company with a copy of the report, as well as a development programme and timeline for putting things into place.


Back in 2016, the Association unveiled its GoLandscape initiative at FutureScape. Dedicated to bringing in and encouraging the next generation of horticulturists, GoLandscape was launched to promote the industry and raise awareness of career opportunities it can provide. It was piloted in the South Thames Region before being rolled out nationwide.

“The original concept and strategy was to get into schools at year 9, though we then realised that school pupils were choosing their options in year 8, so we decided to go in one year earlier,” explains Wayne. “It’s just developed from there. So, Year 8 and upwards, then colleges – though colleges less so at the time because many of those students had already chosen their career path, but we were still trying to influence them coming into the landscaping side of the horticultural industry.”

Then, the education strategy changed within government so that training and education establishments had to bring in third parties to develop and deliver careers advice. So, the Association’s former education officer Stephen Ensell, who helped to set up GoLandscape, sent out a campaign to schools’ career advisors and was

Landscape GO building real careers

forces’ resettlement programmes, YMCA training, HighGround for service leavers and veterans, and HM Prison Service. “We’ve cast a much wider net, including working with Lee Connelly, the Skinny Jean Gardener, who has taken his programme out into primary schools. Although we were really pleased how that programme ran, I don’t feel primary schools are our focus moving forward as the RHS has that side sewn up with its own programmes.”

GoLandscape is now looking for a new education officer and likely an assistant education officer too as the initiative proves so popular and GoLandscape now has 60 ambassadors trained to develop and deliver information to schools and careers fairs. The Association is also developing its own Academy. Like GoLandscape, a pilot will first run in the South Thames area, led by Jake Catling, managing director of The Landscaping Consultants. “We’ve spent a lot of time asking our members, but also non-members, whether they think an academy, and delivering training

prolandscapermagazine .com

Putting stringent processes such as this in place is the mark of its chief executive, who has been with the association for the last 11 years. “I was first introduced as the chief operations officer,” says Wayne. “The organisation had been without a chief executive for about 18 months prior to me starting, but a small group of board members had put together a strategy and were looking to recruit someone to deliver it. They wanted a chief operations officer to look at the systems, processes and procedures to make sure that the association was fit for purpose internally.”

Wayne then started building a team, from four and a half full-time staff at the time to the 17 full and part-time roles which exist today. He was also charged with growing the membership, which had halted at around the 650. Having been managing director for Lantra Awards for the previous five years, Wayne had been aware of the association before joining and had experience working in the land-based industries. “We put 60,000 learners a year through training and qualifications at that time at Lantra Awards, but the link with BALI was through the ROLO health and safety courses and also LISS, the Land-based Industry Skills Scheme, which has now partnered with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS).”

people were attending at the time. We took the proposal to the board to bring the organisation of the awards in-house, and it was supposed to be over a three-year phased approach, but the board said, ‘If you’re going to do it, let’s just do it’. I’m pleased to say it went well, and in the first year we bumped up attendance to 800, which has slowly crept up and in the last few years we have had more than 1,000 people in the room. It is a great success.”

for our members to the wider industry, then more people may well become involved in the association. Our members are why we’re here, why we exist, and the end client base has to be part of the strategy moving forward. And we’re also focusing inwardly within the organisation. Our values were previously very much member-centred, but we’ve now achieved

Investors in People Silver standard, and our values have to run through the organisation and through membership in the same way.”

At the time, Lantra Awards was also a sponsor of the association’s National Landscape Awards, which were launched in 1976, just four years after the association was founded, though Wayne says they were very different back then. “It would have been an overhead projector on a pull up screen in a chosen venue. The awards have just grown and grown over the years.

“When I first joined the organisation, the contract had already been handed out to the events team at Haymarket Media, but when I came in and reviewed it, we thought we could grow the awards more, as about 650

The awards were launched to recognise peers and celebrate excellence, which Wayne says are the principles on which it works today. Winners are chosen based on the quality of their schemes, adds Wayne – if you’re a member of the association, your schemes are likely to be in the running if entered, whether a large commercial scheme or a small domestic project.

Which brings us back to the new vision, mission and values which form the new strategy. The focus is on four key stakeholder groups: industry, members, the end client base, and the organisation itself.

“The wider industry is not our main remit, but there is an impact; our thought is if we can demonstrate value in what we do

The association has also developed strategic imperative for its four key stakeholder groups.

“The four strategic imperatives are: lead the industry, build the membership base, be relevant to end clients, and futureproof the organisation. In other words, we need to be here for another 50 years.”

Falling under each of these imperatives are priorities and action points, such as identifying and lobbying for industry issues, and reducing its attrition rate to grow the membership.

Whilst it might have started out placing its focus on its members, the British Association of Landscape Industries has developed into far more than simply a trade association. It has become an industry voice, a quality employer and an organisation which seeks to raise the standard of the landscaping industry in the eyes of the public.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 202250
We’ve spent a lot of time asking our members, but also non-members, whether they think an academy, and delivering training in that way, would work
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Michael Buck’s ambition is simple: to make Creepers the best at what it does. Achieving that, of course, is less simple, but Michael has both short-term and long-term plans to do so, including the creation of a “centre of excellence”.

He joins Creepers this month as head of horticulture, overseeing the nursery’s three sites: one in Addlestone, which is “the main hub” for Creepers, with up to eight artic lorries coming and going from the site each day; one in the New Forest, its most recent addition; and another in Wandsworth, which is more of a cash and carry in the capital and a collection site for London-based clients. It’s the latter which Michael says will probably be the “steepest learning curve”.

“The turnover of plants is very high; it’s bit like a market where clients will collect six to 10 plants maybe two or three times a week, so it’s understanding that and really seeing trends in that happening for me to then push and guide those trends.”

Creepers’ site in the New Forest is not quite so fast paced. Michael plans to speak with clients, as well as the nursery and sales teams, to discover which plants are in high demand and which Creepers can then propagate here, “not to flood the market but to stabilise it,” says Michael.

“I’m really excited to start, to meet the team and to drive this side forward. And I’ll be heavily involved in the procurement side, in terms of sourcing difficult-to-find plants, the pieces that might be a friend of a friend in the Netherlands who has a small greenhouse somewhere – that's what I do and have done for years, finding these amazing, rare plants.”

At the beginning of year, for instance, Michael sourced hellebores for Tom Stuart-Smith from an amateur grower who had gone to Bosnia and

Speaking ahead of starting his new role at Creepers, Michael Buck shares his big ambitions for the nursery, which has continued to grow and succeed over the last two decades
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 53

brought back seeds to propagate. “He was one of the only people in the country I could find who had these plants and I managed to get 14 of them to fulfil the order.”

He has also supplied plants to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and to a castle garden in Stockholm with Ulf Nordfjell, for which he spent around five days in the Arctic Circle.

Working as a general manager at Hortus Loci, and at Form Plants most recently, means Michael also has his fair share of experience sourcing plants for show gardens – and plenty of anecdotes too. Take the time he drove from Reading to Tuscany in two and a half days to collect two trees for one of Catherine MacDonald’s show gardens. It’s one of many stories which show Michael’s passion for sourcing plants, and for shows.

His new role will not necessarily see him moving away from show gardens entirely – Creepers supplied one of Kate Gould’s Chelsea gardens, for instance – but it would be less all-encompassing. However, should Creepers want to expand more into supplying show gardens, it may make business sense for the nursery.

“Choosing the gardens wisely and understanding your skillset as a nursery is so important, for so many reasons. You don’t want to let people down; there’s a huge team behind every show garden and it means so much to everyone, including nurseries. I take every garden personally. But I’ve seen money lost, and that has never sat right with me. It’s so disappointing to work so hard as a team and not make money for the business."

In the meantime, there’s plenty for Michael to focus on at Creepers in order to achieve his overall ambition. He’ll be splitting his time across all three sites, but also across Europe, working remotely from countries such as Germany, Spain and Holland.

“I love being out with plants and out with people, whether I’m taking clients to sites or on a fact-finding mission or searching for a special jewel that someone needs. I’ve built up a lot of camaraderie with clients and I love showing them plants. This is an area I want to promote on the nursery side.

We can do a lot more by leading trends and showing them what’s available, such as promoting trees on Instagram."

His views and ambitions fortunately aligned with those of Creepers. As soon as he met with co-owner Rob Ryall, having been approached by a recruiter, Michael says he was hooked. “We got on really well and our values married up, then when I met the extended senior leadership team, everything felt quite natural, and I was excited by the prospect of what they’re looking to achieve. I want us to be the best – not the biggest, we don’t need to be, but I want us to be the best.”

Adding to this, Michael wants to create a “centre of excellence for horticulturists”. “We have a huge skills shortage in this industry, so I want to create this hub where Creepers can be seen as leaders in encouraging horticulturists. It doesn’t have to be school leavers, college leavers or university leavers; it can be people leaving the city and looking to change careers.

Horticulture is the best industry in the world; it’s fulfilling, you get to meet so many amazing people, and everyone is happy to impart of their knowledge.”

It’s a long-term goal, admits Michael, but he has already started to put together plans as to how it can fit in with the business.

“Creepers is giving me the opportunity to thrive in a position where I know what I can achieve and bring to the table, not just short term but over the next five to 10 years.”

So, over the next few months and years, Michael will be working towards the creation of this centre of excellence, as well as boosting the procurement side of Creepers for clients to have one delivery of plants rather than numerous deliveries from a selection of nurseries. He will be looking at developing the sites – with Creepers already exploring the potential of a fourth site – and further expanding the retail arm of Creepers. On top of this, developing plans for an e-commerce site are underway with a primary target to further improve the digital customer experience, all gearing towards Michael’s overall ambition to make Creepers the best at what it does.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 INTERVIEW 54
We have a huge skills shortage in this industry, so I want to create this hub where Creepers can be seen as leaders in encouraging horticulturists
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We have 313,500 miles of rural road verges in the UK. Plantlife say this is equivalent to our remaining areas of lowland species-rich grassland meadow. Over half our native flora can be found in verges but there has been a 20% drop in diversity due to poor management, be this excessive cutting or at the wrong time, initial seed mixes or nutrient pollution i.e. excessive nitrogen which fuels grasses to outcompete wildflowers. Our road verges offer a considerable potential to benefit biodiversity and increase space for wildlife – something we should all encourage.

duty toward biodiversity conservation (Natural England and Defra 2014 –Biodiversity Duty). Even with cuts to local authority funding, the verge mowing contracts have not changed much; they appear to have some resilience which I’d suggest is because highways are a mandatory function.

Also, those in charge may not be as sympathetic with the natural world, or as enlightened as we would like. However, there are green shoots of change, experiments and sound ecological guidance on how verges could be managed in the future. Burnley, Denbighshire, Dorset, Hertfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Sheffield councils, to name a few, have changed the way they manage verges.

wildflowers to flower and set seed before cutting. If only one cut is possible, cut between August and September and remove the cuttings. Plantlife gives examples of verge arisings (or road verge biomass) being used in farms as feedstock or in combined heat and power anaerobic digesters. The Kent Wildlife Trust gathers arisings into habitat piles.

So, why don’t they do this already? Well yes, they do but it’s very piecemeal and there is vast potential to do much more. For 23 million commuters, road verges can be their only daily contact with nature.

So, why aren’t they reaching this potential? It may lie with those who manage highway verges and “have always done it this way”, even though this may go against their legal

Back in September 2019, I wrote about how Dorset Council – under the guide of an ecologist – changed cutting regimes to cut and collect. Over two years they reduced the nutrient levels and grass vigour, allowing wildflowers to re-establish their place in a species rich grassland verge. This had quick results in increasing invertebrates, pollinators and butterflies. A species rich grassland is one where there are more than nine species per m2. On average verges have resulted from grass dominant seed mixes and have less than nine species per m2 and most are grasses.

Plantlife has a best practice guide for managing road verges. It recommends relaxing cut frequency to two cuts per year; first in early spring, February to March, and then later in August to October. This allows

There is some hope for the future. Verges can replicate some elements of lost meadows and host many of their endangered species. So, if you get the opportunity to nudge your local authority to review its verge cutting options, please do so. We could bring some happiness to those commuters passing road verges full of wildflowers and wildlife.


• Plantlife, “Managing grassland road verges –a best practice guide”

• Joshua Styles, “The Increase in road verge wilding and the role of native flora”,

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

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 57 OPINION
When it’s a verge, questions Nick Coslett, as he concludes his meadow series
For 23 million commuters, road verges can be their only daily contact with nature


behind us?

Well, it has finally happened: the UK government has decided to ban all retail sales of peat-based growing media in England by 2024. In fact, this will translate to 2025 as 2024 sales will be the last year allowed. This has been a long time in development and should come as no surprise to anyone. This is a good thing for the environment, though I concede that it will be tough for a number of companies producing peat-based composts and will put strain on peat-free compost demand and manufacture over the next few years.

As it stands, we produce nowhere near enough peat-free growing media to meet the requirements of the UK retail market and cannot readily outsource it. This hurdle will surely be overcome in time, but we really need to look at how we use compost and where we actually need to use it going forward as regardless of whether it contains peat or not, high quality composts will be under pressure from demand, and low-quality alternatives risk us being similarly damaging and the consumer becoming disillusioned with quality if we are not careful.

I’m not a huge fan of coir as a growing medium; it is commonly the material used in place of peat in compost mixes. While it has its merits, most coir is produced in India and Sri Lanka, so the carbon footprint to bring it into the UK is very high and biosecurity is difficult to manage. Wood fibre, especially UK and sustainably sourced, is my preferred route to replace peat in composts. Providing it is well rotted, it has made an excellent alternative for years now.

As someone who works for a larger UK plant grower, which has been peat-free in all production since 2013, the ban on retail sales is one we foresaw and opted to react to immediately because it is better to lead than to follow, and environmentally it was the right decision. I am not surprised that the government opted to leave professional use of peat-based products on the table for longer as it has been a divisive issue within the industry for some time and the huge quantities of material used will take time to change over to a peat-free alternative. Manufacturers which have been focused on reducing peat in their

composts will have further to go in a short amount of time and I look forward to inventive research and development updates.

In general, I would like to see more accountability for compost quality in the retail bagged market as there are some terrible mixes containing freshly chipped and dyed pallet wood and paper pulp, which need to be similarly banned and quality standards to be refined and policed based on the Quality Compost Protocol (QCP) and PAS 100 schemes as regulated by the CCS here in the UK.

The CCS does great work when it comes to regulating media that can be produced at source, but companies who mix and bag compost and growing media are less restricted and are not required to register with the CCS and so become harder to police. Not being registered with the CCS doesn’t make a product bad, but it shows a loophole in the system allowing some to potentially produce an inferior product to the detriment of the consumer.

Regardless of your position on the debate, changes are coming and being written into law. Personally, I now expect the agenda will next shift to professional horticultural use and the burning of peat.

Lewis is hosting a number of seminars in the Nurture Theatre: Tuesday 15 November, 10am – The Natural Environment: The Promise of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) 3pm – The Plants take Priority: Plant-led Landscapes, Wednesday 16 November, 10am – The Call of the Wild: Rewilding and Restoring Ecosystems, 2pm – The Plant Health Commitment: A Passport to Biosecurity

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.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 202258
Lewis Normand explores the recent announcement that peat will be banned from retail from 2024
We really need to look at how we use compost and where we actually need to use it going forward
The official job board of Pro Landscaper magazine Please contact Mark Wellman to advertise your vacancy: Email: Tel: 01903 777 574 hiring? Advertise your job on horticulture careers for free! *Offer only valid for first time users of the site Landscaping jobs ARE YOU Top results Horticulture Careers –


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Perennial THINKING

The last decade has seen a steady rise in the use of perennials in larger scale plantings – public parks and higher value developments. This is part of a definite, distinctly self-conscious, and at times evangelical 'movement', with a strong overlap with an interest in ecology, biodiversity and sustainability. It can be said to have started in the 90s, so now is perhaps a good time to make some assessments of the success of this movement, its relevance to our work and perhaps to think about the future.

The work of Dutch designer Piet Oudolf has been central to the contemporary use of perennials. His work is extremely successful in creating plantings with a high visual impact, especially in the latter part of the year, and which are extremely robust, with a very strong emphasis on lowmaintenance long-lived plant species.

However, Oudolf's work is in many ways very conventional in that he groups individuals into single-cultivar blocks. This often makes maintenance easier, but it does not necessarily make it easier for other planting designers to emulate, and there are a great many drawbacks to this approach, especially in the hands of less experienced designers.

His selection and juxtaposition of plants based on criteria based on plant form is enlightening and something we can all learn from, but there is no 'system' for us to adapt to our own circumstances. The result is that anyone else's efforts just look like a Piet Oudolf knock-off.

The whole field of perennials and of naturalistic and ecologically based planting schemes is a very wide one, and it is perhaps unfortunate that Oudolf is treated by magazine editors and journalists as the 'leader' of the field, a position this very modest

man has never sought. Today's designers are entitled to be asking, “what can we do to learn from Oudolf, but which takes us somewhere new?”

Far more radical is the 'intermingling' approach adopted initially by German practitioners, but also used very successful by Nigel Dunnett (of Sheffield University and Superbloom fame). Here, plant selections aim at creating a vegetation which is more genuinely naturalistic, and which allows for continual development as the component species spread and seed around. For designers, the great advantage is that each plant mix can be treated as modular and flowed into whatever space is needed. Precise plant placement is not important, but the randomised overall impact is. The disadvantage for managers is that with plants spreading and moving around over time, maintenance staff need plant recognition skills to be able to weed and effectively edit planting over time.

On the other hand, these intermingled plantings are actually quite 'forgiving' as poorly performing plants or species which look rough after flowering are much more easily concealed than when grown in blocks, when their drawbacks are clearly visible. Because of this, the range of species that can be used can be greatly increased. The results can be amazingly robust, giving pleasure over many years. It is clear to me that this is the direction we need to be headed in.


Noel Kingsbury is a freelance designer, writer and researcher who has long promoted naturalistic planting design. He also teaches at Boston Architectural College.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 OPINION 61
His selection and juxtaposition of plants based on criteria based on plant form is enlightening and something we can all learn from, but there is no 'system' for us to adapt to our own circumstances
Rather than simply copying Piet Oudolf, could we think more radically for larger scale planting, questions Noel Kingsbury

At last there’s a place where great landscaping and efficient rainwater management meet. The new ACO Garden Designers and Landscapers’ web page has all the help and support you need on channel drainage systems and sustainable water management – including a free eBook on sustainable design.

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London Lawn Turf continues to expand after 25 years, but the personal touch of the family business – and its expansive knowledge – remains firmly intact

Temperatures are dipping, marking the start of autumn and therefore one of the best times of the year to lay turf, says Joe Hayward of London Lawn Turf. The ground temperature is still warm, helping roots to establish quickly; but the air being slightly cooler means it will not grow as fast and therefore less maintenance is required than in the late spring and summer, with less watering being better for the environment.

Ground preparation is key to success though, says Joe – as is using a good quality topsoil. “It provides good nutrients for the turf to root and establish and helps with achieving good final levels so that the lawn doesn’t sink and become uneven.”

It goes without saying that quality turf is also a necessity. “There are varying levels of turf that you can buy. We stick to selling Rolawn because we know the quality and that it establishes well and provides a good quality lawn.”

Quality turf is supplied freshly cut from the field and laid soon afterwards.“Turf that has been laying around for a while will

give you some issues; it might be more susceptible to pests and disease. Consistency is important too; if you’re laying 100 rolls of turf, you want the first to be the same as the last one.”

As much care and attention needs to be paid on the lawn as it is to the rest of the project, says Joe. London Lawn Turf can provide advice and guides for laying turf to help ensure its success on a project. For larger projects, it can visit the site to explain what is required and to help with measurements. It also provides the quality products, including London Lawn's Premium grade British Standard certificated Topsoil, Rolawn task specific soils, barks and mulches – Rolawn Medallion Turf, Rolawn Establishment Fertiliser and Wildflower Turf’s Wildflower Landscape Turf.

Founded 25 years ago, the family-run company started off selling plants from a small site in south- west London before moving into the turf and topsoil

market and now boasts five depots across London and surrounding areas, such as Windlesham in Surrey and Sevenoaks in Kent. The company’s most recent depot opened two years ago in Brentwood, Essex, and Joe hints at plans for further sites in the south to widen its reach.

London Lawn Turf already offers an impressive service. “Turf is a challenging product to handle as it’s a perishable product, so if it’s not sold or moved in the same day, then it can often go to waste. We have a range of HGV vehicles working throughout London, so we’re able to deliver with a quick

turnaround, and we have a strong staff retention; a lot of people in our team have been with us for a long time, so they know our customers really well.”

London Lawn Turf’s rapid and quality service is likely to be part of the reason its client base is equally impressive, working with the likes of Living Landscapes, Watermatic, Libra Construction, Randle Siddeley, Cultural, Locksley Gardens and Bartholomew Landscapes.

“We’re often drafted into much larger landscaping projects as a specialist installer of turf and associated products. Our wide-ranging delivery and supply services coupled with our vastly knowledgeable installation teams provide a great option for clients managing a wide scope of works and looking to reduce their internal workload.”

Autumn might be one of the best times to lay turf, but expertise and products such as those at London Lawn Turf will help for turf to be successful at any time of year.

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Our wideranging delivery and supply services coupled with our vastly knowledgeable installation teams provide a great option for clients

The power to colour green

Van den Berk Nurseries specialises in medium to very large sized trees and shrubs. With around 450 hectares and a range of 1600 species and cultivars, we are one of the largest nurseries in Europe. The trees end up in assorted locations such as city centres, business premises, parks and private gardens.

This process involves our working closely with landscape architects, landscape contracters, greenery managers and garden designers, enabling us jointly to complete the most successful greenery projects, and that is a source of great pride for us!


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Heatwaves spark requests for more drought tolerant turf, whereas extreme winters call for those which can withstand frost – is there a happy medium which also appeals to Brits’ perception of a perfect lawn?

“Brown lawns are cool" was the message from the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) this summer amidst a scorching heatwave. Temperatures soared to 40.3° in a village in Lincolnshire, and it wasn’t the only place in the UK to break the 40° barrier. With droughts soon to be declared and hosepipe bans imposed, the TGA was urging homeowners to "hold back on watering established lawns."

“Going brown is the natural survival mechanism of grass,” explained chief executive Stacie Rae.“When water is in short supply, grass responds by shutting down. The brown shows that it has stopped growing until more favourable conditions return. Grass is remarkably resilient, and as you follow a few basic rules, most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives.”

Brits arguably have a longstanding love affair with lawns, with a green striped lawn being a source of pride for homeowners. But with a changing climate meaning drier, hotter summers and wetter, colder winters, is a brown lawn likely to be the norm going forward? This summer, DLF Seeds wrote about trials by the STRI on Microclover, a “special bred dwarf white clover which joins in well with other turf species” and requires less watering and fertiliser as it converts atmospheric nitrogen into a natural fertiliser.

Turf producers such as Rolawn have been working with a number of seed suppliers on cultivars to tackle a number of issues which can then be used to produce its Medallion turf, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Seed types have been around for some time

that are hot weather grasses used in areas such as North America, including Bermuda grass and Buffalo grass.

“There are various seed types which are more drought tolerant, but the problem is that you need balance in the UK,” explains Rolawn’s sales director, Jonathan Hill.“Hot weather grasses have other issues, such as they’re not able to cope with our cold winters. So, for a turf grower to provide a product for the landscaper to use, to give a good result in the marketplace, we are working all the time on a balance of cultivars that do different things and trying to provide as healthy a turf that will then grow whether it’s laid in the north, south, east or west of the country.”

There’s no easy answer, then, for producing a turf which excels in heatwaves

prolandscapermagazine .com PRODUCTS
Grass is remarkably resilient, and so long as you follow a few basic rules, most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives

temperature grass plant damage" – is being increasingly reported in certain parts of the UK and that now is probably the right time develop a long-term strategy for defence against winterkill.

Jonathan says, for turf growers, it’s a compromise.“If you lean too much towards hot weather grasses, a lot of people in the UK say it doesn’t look like a lawn; it’s rougher and coarser. And if you put in a mix, visually it’s difficult to get the appearance which works for the UK market which stays green in extreme drought.”

So, Rolawn moved to producing younger, thinner turf a few years ago. With chemicals used to control pests such as leatherjackets and chafer grubs being removed from the market, a younger, thinner turf would root faster and establish quicker

and have more adaptability, says Jonathan. It would be better equipped to cope with weather conditions from hot, dry spells to wet and cold winters.“You want it to make a lawn as quickly as possible, so that it establishes a strong root base, and therefore it will be far more able to live on its own means. It’s also environmentally friendly because we use less inputs on the field to produce the turf.”

The misnomer, says Jonathan, is that turf producers are growing finished lawns; they’re growing the turf to turn into a high-quality lawn. So, those focused on the appearance of the turf on rollout are focusing on the wrong thing.“You need to focus on the health of the grass plant and how quickly it’s going to establish. So, the technically superior grass is really the one that’s got the most

adaptability with the fastest rooting structure, and if you can do that with a visual appearance that people like, then it will quickly establish into a high quality, healthy lawn.”

To further ensure the longevity of its turf, Rolawn invested in its patented Profresh System which significantly extends the shelf life of turf.“Turf can suffer from sod heating, where it composts very quickly in extreme conditions once harvested and rolled. So, by the time it gets to the landscaper, it has decomposed. We invented a unique process called Profresh, where the harvested turf goes through a process which slows down the start of decomposition so that we can move it around the UK and get it to our clients with it still being in a health green condition.”

Turf suppliers are clearly striving to create a product which can withstand a changing climate, but the catch is British lawns might look a little different than what we’re used to. The question is: can the British public compromise?

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 PRODUCTS 66
You need to focus on the health of the grass plant and how quickly it’s going to establish
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RHS Wisley has undergone an impressive transformation in recent years, the pinnacle of which is its new RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science, the UK’s first dedicated gardening science hub. Surrounding the new centre are three inspirational gardens, one of two designed by Ann-Marie Powell is the World Food Garden.

It needed to combine and consolidate the fruit, vegetable and herb gardens at Wisley for the first time, to create a cohesive landscape with separate experimental compartments to welcome and encourage exploration by the visitor. The garden would provide an educational, aesthetically pleasing garden beside RHS Hilltop, but also to link with the wider landscape at Wisley. An attractive pest protection solution was requested to enclose the whole garden.

The aim of the new garden was to support the RHS in encouraging horticultural experimentation and education, whilst promoting the benefits of horticulture. Ann-Marie, along with the team at Wisley, wanted to create a new way of growing edibles to engage productive food growers no matter the size of their garden or maybe if they had no garden at all.

“We wanted the garden to inspire conversation, future food stories and diversity in what we all ultimately eat,” explains Ann-Marie. “From my


Project value Confidential Build 7 months

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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 PORTFOLIO 71

A strong connection to the café also needed to be established, so seating areas have been immersed amongst edible flowers and herbs to explore the relationship between plants and food and to show those who are new to productive growing that many familiar blooms are, in fact, edible.

perspective, the food garden had to be a creative and energetic, inspiring outdoor space which not only pleased aesthetically, but informed visitors in an approachable, accessible way - no matter their culture, age, horticultural interest or experience.”

From the initial concept ideas, it was hoped the garden would provide a valuable tool for allowing the RHS to share its expert knowledge in preserving and progressing the science, art and practice of horticulture, and for the garden to be enjoyed by future generations both urban and rural, to enhance our shared global environment.

Tasty trio

Broadly split into three sections, the garden was inspired by the unusual oval site – which Ann-Marie says moved her thinking away from the neatly aligned beds of the traditional walled kitchen garden – and it had to connect to the new RHS Hilltop.

“Having spent my evenings reading scientific textbooks, my layout design was influenced by the science by the vascular bundles in a monocot stem, allowing the beds to be small and free form, emulating how many of us garden today whilst creating intimate spaces surrounded by plants where visitors felt comfortable enough to take time to study the plants.

“Regarding the presentation of the plants, we wanted the garden to present edibles in a united fashion where fruit, vegetables, and

companion plantings could be enjoyed in a harmonious, celebratory, contemporary environment.”

The Edible Flower & Herb Garden was designed to ease visitors into edible planting. Tables are surrounded by mixed borders of culinary herbs and edible flowers, which are grown for taste but also their ornamental properties.

The central Good to Grow beds comprise the champions of the RHS vegetable trials, AGM selections and favourites of the RHS Edibles Team, highlighting not only what to grow but how to grow it. Finished simply with steel edging strips, “exciting” communities of vegetables are grown at ground level in experimental ‘dig’ vs ‘no dig’ beds. The garden can be enjoyed as a whole, but the small beds with mixed plantings can individually be copied once back home. A mix of steel and pea stick plant supports provide structure and height, against the backdrop of a new glasshouse filled with tender produce.

In a series of raised beds, more ‘exotic’ and tender edibles that are increasingly viable to grow in the UKs increasingly warm climate encourages the more adventurous grower to experiment with what they grow.

“The World Food Maze Garden is a space where one can literally get lost in the diversity and beauty of food with overflowing beds of edibles and pergolas of climbing produce linking all together. A labyrinth of mixed height raised beds (steel not timber, to minimise

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 PORTFOLIO 72

slugs) allows visitors to get lost within a world of flavour. Contemporary overhead steel arch plant supports link the kitchen garden compartments to create a cohesive whole, symbolising the linking of culinary communities worldwide, whilst framing the decorative nature of more unusual vegetable and fruit varieties.

"Plant selections relate to global cuisines to help encourage inclusivity through ethnically diverse ingredients. These areas begin new food conversations and the community groups are continuing the learning culture by advising the RHS on what they grow in their own gardens or allotments so they can be included within this ever-developing space.”

The main avenue of the World Food Garden provides an exuberant welcome to visitors.

Contemporary Corten pergolas overflow with edible climbers, leading to a central water feature which is encircled by pleached fruit trees and paths to glasshouses filled with fruit, vegetables and herbs. Flanked by beds filled with edible annuals and perennials, the avenue provides a colourful and pollinator filled

habitat which allows for greater pollination of all the crops and also natural pest control.

“This garden will celebrate the diversity of food and people who grow. It will share inspiration and expertise, and demonstrate the benefits of growing, cooking and eating, emphasising their importance in physical and mental health.”

Edible planting scheme

In the Flower and Herb Garden, burgeoning beds of herbs and edible flowers include hemerocallis, Salvia elegans 'Scarlet Pineapple' and 'Tangerine', hostas, lavender, mallow and mint. The Good to Grow area is filled with recommendations and growing tips, highlighting easy-to-grow crops to inspire beginners. It includes AGM blight resistant tomatoes 'Crimson Crush', and 'Mountain Magic'.

1 The Edible Flower and Herb garden allows visitors to eat lunch surrounded by plants

2 The curving design allows seating compartments amongst inspiring edible blooms

3 Weeks after opening in June 2021, the World Food Garden was brimming with new ideas ©RHS/Oliver Dixon

The rabbit, deer and badger proof fencing that encloses the oval shaped whole was a new opportunity to showcase the RHS gardeners skills. Designed as a backdrop and support to trained fruit, alternating ‘open’ sections with timber clad panels to provide protection for more tender fruit whilst linking back to the materials of the Hilltop building.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 PORTFOLIO 73

The World Maze features exotic crops that are staples of multicultural Britain, spilling from beds and clambering over arches. Look out for minutina (Plantago coronopus from Italy), ahocha (Cyclanthera pedata, enjoyed in South America) and ajmud (Carum roxburghianum from India).

There’s also the oyster plant (Mertensia maritima) from Greenland and northern Canada which is a coastal plant, as its name suggests. It is growing amongst the sweet tea vine (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), known as Jiaogulan in China.

The boundary panels support 75 selections of trained fruit, including apples, pears, gages, nectarines and peaches. Here, the team can display their creative skills in the spirit of friendly competition, inspired by intricate forms found in the Potager du Roi near the Palace of Versailles and the ‘Encyclopedie des forms fruitieres’ by Jacques Beccaletto (2010).

That’s not forgetting that many edible crops can be decorative.“We considered the structure of plants to create a texturally pleasing plantscape and made sure that winter wouldn’t be a barren season within the garden – the growth may be slower but the garden is still full, and ready to go when spring arrives.”

The edible plantings are layered with pollinator attracting companion plants to encourage better crop pollination and so greater yields as insects gather nectar and pollinating as they go.

“The planting is all about global cuisine and the plant selections will constantly evolve and become a collaboration with community groups from different cultures. It's beyond exciting to think that new introductions will be added each year as community gardeners, allotmenteers, chefs and writers inform future seed selections.”

Sustainable site

Before construction began, much of the existing soil was harvested from the site and then reused within the world food planting beds with very little imported soil brough to site. “As Sheila Das, the garden manager, once said to me: ‘Better the soil you know.’”

“Though the whole site is no dig, there are no dig with two comparison beds, the garden is chemical free, and the RHS team are very thoughtful about choices of sundries and materials to leave as little mark as we can on our wider environment.

“Planting for beauty and function in the same space makes sense. As Charles Dowding says: ‘It is

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During the build, Landform was meticulous regarding soil, devising a method to avoid compaction and contamination of the soils as they built. Firstly, the builders’ hardcore and site access were removed; they then put back subsoils to the lower levels of the metal edging. Services were then first fixed, followed by metal edging and minimal concrete haunching. Following the tarmac-first base coats allowed them to carefully dig out the placed sub soils to the specified depths, mostly 450mm but stepped to a reduced dig of -600mm for the larger fruit cordons/ espaliers etc.

good to mix things up. It creates different beneficial associations with mycorrhizal fungi at root level in ways we don’t yet fully understand.’ Monocultures tend to be susceptible to pest and disease problems. ‘Even farmers find growing different varieties of wheat together has a positive effect on yield as long as they all mature at the same time,’ says Dowding.”

Plantings of both trees and beds were mixed to avoid a monoculture which might be susceptible to pests and disease, and mixed plantings confuses crop-damaging creatures away from the produce.

Many of the sites existing materials were recused within RHS Hilltop’s Learning Garden, designed by Ben Brace, as a teaching space for visiting school groups and other communities.

4 Good-to-grow plants such as courgette, sweet corn and climbing beans surround garden scale glasshouses from Gabriel Ash

5 The World Food Garden offers an array of food opportunities, including from their food truck!

6 Curved beds with mixed plantings offers the opportunity to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs in a contemporary way ©RHS/Oliver Dixon

7 The skill of the RHS gardeners ensures an array of deliciously enticing produce all year round

8 Large Corten pergolas allow hops and passionfruit to flex and climb to their full extent

9 A circular water feature at the heart of the garden surrounded by benches is a perfect meeting point

Low maintenance Jura Beige Limestone from London Stone was used for the water feature and paving.

• From £84.64 including VAT when bought online.

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The pergolas down the central main path were installed using 300mm diameter plastic sleeves carefully marked out so that the soil will not be disturbed when the pergola arrived later that spring.

Speedy delivery

Ann-Marie Powell Gardens was awarded the project after a competitive selection programme in December 2017, after undergoing several rounds of pitching to various committees and stakeholders. "Working for the greatest horticultural charity in the world is an honour and a privilege and myself and my team were proud to work through feasibilities, design reviews, cost plans, project strategies and procurement.”

Landform was appointed as the landscape contractor and the team broke ground in March 2020 on the Wildlife and Wellbeing Gardens –the other gardens outside RHS Hilltop - first, working in tandem with the main building contractors who were using the World Food Garden site as a materials store. After a few delays – from COVID-19 to inclement weather, and material delays to price hikes – the site was handed over to Mark Gregory and his team at Landform in November 2020, just over six months before the site opened to the public on 24 June 2021.

“Mark and his team worked like forces of nature building an acre garden from the ground up through lockdowns, a global pandemic, and often speaking to project stakeholders and myself, the designer, via video call on any challenges and to give key updates when many had to isolate.

“Plants which were planned to be in the ground were stored until they were at bursting point within the RHS polytunnels by the edible and propagation teams who were given just a two-week window to plant. Landform passed the baton of unfeasibly long hours and breakneck speed to the RHS gardeners, who were still planting the day before the opening. But they, and we made it. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a team of such committed individuals who created the World Food Garden over the four years my studio was involved in designing and delivering this project. To see people enjoying the garden today is one of my professional life’s greatest joys.”

The World Food Garden will now act as a key learning tool and a source of inspiration for gardeners becoming more self-sufficient, showcasing a range of methods for growing your own food at home, regardless of garden size.

10 The scale of the pergolas was purposefully large, strong enough to support climbers, with visual weight to compete with the Hilltop building, and framing the orchards beyond


Ann-Marie Powell's multi-award-winning garden design practice has seen outdoor spaces as places with exciting possibilities for more than 20 years. The studio can’t get enough of plants, bold colours and textural contrasts, creating garden habitats that invite an evolving ecology instead of the traditionally decorated garden. Sustainability is a fundamental value of our approach; the team strives to design naturally energetic and bold landscapes to become havens for an abundance of insects and wildlife where its clients live in harmony, up close and personal with the natural world.


Landscape contractor Landform Consultants

Glasshouses Gabriel Ash

Steelwork – including Corten pergolas and raised beds

Hot Metal Engineering

World food maze arches and pest protection Harrod Horticultural

Pest protection fences and gates McVeigh Parker

Resin bound gravel Addagrip

Water feature and paving London Stone

Trees Frank P Matthews

Many plants grown by RHS gardeners at Wisley.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 PORTFOLIO 76 | 01582 843881 | Chequers Hill, Flamstead, Nr St.Albans, Herts, AL3 8ET • ADVICE • DELIVERY • PLANTING • AFTERCARE • Over 450 varieties of semi-mature and mature trees and hedging, grown in 35 to 4,000 litre AirPot containers. SUPPLYING MAJESTIC TREES NATIONWIDE FOR 20 YEARS! Grower of the Year: Nursery Stock 2008 • 2011 2015 • 2017 Supplier of the Year 2020 Google reviews 4.9 out of 5 Visit our 27 acre nursery, where you can personally select specimen trees for your upcoming projects. Majestic always excel from their front of house, horticultural advisors, delivery drivers and through to the scheduling department – consistently reliable job after job! Our clients are always impressed when we take them for a tour of the nursery and have continued a great service through the pandemic and a period of great demand in the industry! KAREN MCCLURE GARDEN DESIGN “Great trees, on time service, always professional; Majestic Trees helps me deliver each and every time!”. JO
What a fab team you sent to my clients’ garden today. They did a great job and inspired huge confidence with their professionalism and knowledge. Excellent job as always, thank you team Majestic! VALENTINA WYATT GARDEN DESIGN


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OUTDOOR ROOM with a view



For the redesign of the gardens at Fifield Farm, it was essential to open up views from the house and garden to the rural landscape of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Berkshire. A better flow from within the house into and through the garden was needed to create unity and cohesiveness.

The adjacent large shubbery garden was to be redesigned as a woodland garden around a new games room and gym to include a seating area and water feature. Vehicles entering the property were to be directed to parking in front of and within the garage, rather than in front of the house.

A revamp was also required of the existing 1970s planting style. The clients wanted a naturalistic, contemporary style, in keeping with the rural location, but it was not to impede the views from the house.

Seamless spaces

The existing outdoor space comprised several disjointed, dated gardens, with obsolete walls, parking areas and enclosed spaces, as the house had previously been three separate dwellings. The challenge was to open up the garden to the rural views beyond and connect the different spaces with a better flow from within the house into the garden and through the garden. To achieve this, a large amount of demolition was necessary with removal of several substantial dividing and view blocking walls and spoil, to create larger level spaces.

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PROJECT DETAILS Project Value £165k Build Time 7 months Size of Project 883m2 1 Sunken dining terrace with Sabbia porcelain paving and slate coping stone Photographs ©Carole Drake

Key to the success of the design is the new seating, dining and entertaining area located at the heart of the house, near to the living room/snug. A porcelain paved, sunken dining and entertaining terrace is located close to the house, with a barbeque area and space for a hot tub. New brick built retaining walls tie in with the brick of the house and the partial black timber cladding of the house is echoed by black slate coping and anthracite charcoal paver detail, steps and paths, as well as black basalt gravel.

The design connects the new games room and gym via a brick paved path framed by an oak pergola, with a small shade tolerant wildflower meadow softening the new building. A curved black basalt gravel path edged with mild steel leads to

a Millboard composite deck in Ember, providing a seating area in front of the games room and to the woodland garden, with a feature existing copper beech tree, slate water bowl and a bespoke oak bench with recycled Yorkstone stepping stones marking a hidden path through the lush planting.

Naturalistic planting

Planting is a focal feature of the design with a naturalistic style around the sunken terrace and a matrix of low growing species chosen so as not to impede views from the house, including Lavandula ‘Richard Grey’, Erigeron ‘Sea Breeze’, Sesleria heufleriana, Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’ and Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’, with clipped Ligustrum jonandrum half standards and Taxus cubes for structure.

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Phlomis russeliana, Stipa calamagrostis, Sesleria autumnalis and Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet' create a standout island bed

Planting against the house is selected to contrast with the black cladding, using predominantly blue flowers such as Viola ‘Boughton Blue’ and the golden foliage of Hakonochloa macra ‘Aureola’. In the woodland garden, planting is a mixture of shrubs and perennials with ferns, grasses and multi stemmed Amelanchier working well with the existing Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’. Planting was selected to suit the conditions and, generally, long-lived varieties were prioritised. P9 pots were used for the majority of the herbaceous plants with a lower carbon footprint and faster establishment.

Yorkstone paving on site was recycled for a stepping stone path and existing concrete paving was crushed by a mobile concrete crusher to be used as backfill. Existing soil on the site was also retained and recycled topsoil was used, whilst the compost chosen was shredded green waste.

2 A deck seating area in the woodland garden, edged with Carex oshimensis 'Everillo'

Charcoal pavers echo the black cladding of the house

An island bed was replanted with drought-tolerant planting suited to free-draining soil

A sunken seat is positioned to catch the views and setting sun

CED Stone’s Black Basalt Aggregate was used for the sunken entertainment area.

• £132.20 including VAT/bulk bag

14mm and 6mm options are available

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Landscape contractor

Simply Green Landscapes

Sabbia porcelain paving Nigel Belcher Turf & Paving

Lucca clay pavers Chelmer Valley

Black slate coping London Stone


Ibstock Brick


Barlows Woodyard

Unforeseen issues

The soil conditions were challenging, with pockets of pure sand, clay and free draining loam. This was mitigated by the addition of plenty of organic matter and the importing of topsoil to some areas. The site had been a builder’s yard, which was unknown prior to build commencing, with large quantities of buried rubble discovered which had to be disposed of.

It was an extremely wet winter which meant that the project had to be stopped and started and care had to be taken to ensure existing soil structure wasn’t damaged.

Builders were on site erecting a new games room at the same time and extreme diplomacy was needed to ensure the two teams could work together.

Despite changes and challenges Andrea Newill, working in close collaboration with the landscaper, Simply Green Landscapes created a landscape which blends seamlessly into its surroundings and showcases naturalistic planting at its best.

Sunken Seat John Cook & Sons

Cast Iron Drainage Grid Lateral Design Studio

Steel edging ParkerSteel

Black basalt aggregate

CED Stone


Argo Irrigation

Electrics/lighting Scenic Lighting

Decking Millboard

Water feature Foras

Fencing Quercus


Arvensis Perennials

North Hill Nurseries

Griffin Nurseries

Penwood Nurseries

The garden was judged Supreme Winner at the 2022 APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Awards, as well as Best in Category in the £150k and Collaboration categories. It was also a finalist in the 2022 SGD (Society of Garden Designers) Awards.

6 An oak pergola frames a charcoal paver path

Photographs ©Carole Drake


Andrea Newill is an awardwinning garden designer with more than 20 years’ experience in designing beautiful, practical gardens.

Andrea’s designs ensure that each new garden is in accord with its house and surroundings, whilst maintaining core principals of sustainability, ecology and value for money.

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01428 741655 Pleaching - Topiary - Hedging - Specimen Trees & Shrubs

Amaze-ingLandsca p es

Maze is a middle English word that translates as 'delirium' or 'delusion' and is the name given to the puzzle-shaped network of pathways and hedges that have been intriguing us with twists and turns through the ages. Whether you love a puzzle, enjoy feeling disorientated or simply appreciate good topiary, these giant puzzles draw us in. They can be spiritually calming or visually stimulating, and they can incite feelings of panic, excitement or serenity, and have been a part of human culture for thousands of years.

Hedge mazes evolved from the knot gardens of Renaissance Europe, and were first constructed during the mid-16th century. These early mazes were very low, initially planted with evergreen herbs, but, over time, dwarf box became a more popular option due to its robustness.

European royalty embraced them as a means of entertaining their guests. They continued to be enjoyed by wealthy Edwardians for their enjoyment, and as a popular spot

for a clandestine meeting. They remain fascinating, entertaining attractions.

Traditionally there are two types of mazes through which the solver must find a route –branching tour puzzles are multicursal, with many paths that do not necessarily lead to the centre, while labyrinths have nonbranching (unicursal) routes that travel on a one-way path from the outside toward the centre.

Labyrinths appeared in Greek mythology some 4,000 years ago as a reflective, contemplative, Christian, or spiritual journey ending in the centre thought to be the point from which you rose to heaven.

Traditionally, we have looked to hedge mazes, of which there are many spectacular examples in the UK from which to take inspiration. Prime examples are the Maze at Hampton Court Palace, the most famous maze in the world

and the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze; Hever Castle’s Maze boasts both a historic 100-year-old English Yew Maze and a splashing Water Maze; Longleat Maze, once the biggest maze in the world, remains the largest in Britain with almost two miles of paths to choose from; and Leeds Castle Maze, constructed in 1987 with 2,400 yew trees, is large and elaborate with part of the design resembling a queen’s crown.

Today's designers are adapting the idea of a maze as art installations and changing how we interact with their environment and experience spaces.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 TRENDS 85
Mazes might be part of ancient history, but Anji Connell shares inspiration for creating contemporary versions in which to lose yourself
Today's designers are adapting the traditional idea of a maze into different art installations


Jeppe Hein's mirrored labyrinth for Royal Fort Gardens, Bristol

Hein created a square formation of 76 vertical polished steel plates at the base of an incline leading down from Royal Fort House. Entering the labyrinth, the landscape and participants multiply through dizzying reflections.

Vara Pavilion XV Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 by Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Venice, Italy

This is a series of exteriors within other exteriors. Depending on your route, a series of narrow and large spaces open up as you walk through.

Root Bench by Yong Ju Lee Architecture, Seoul, South Korea

Representing the roots of a plant, this organic structure in wood with a metal frame and concrete base spreads out in dipping and rising a circular form with a 98ft diameter.

Yuzhòu by Brut Deluxe, Luneng Sanya Bay Light and Art Festival, Hainan, China

This immersive light-based installation is made with dichroic film-coated acrylic glass in triangular forms to create a spectrum of colours as you walk through the maze. The walls feature circular grooves with colour-shifting LEDs. Unlike the inner transparent walls, the peripheral surfaces are covered in a mirror film to create an infinite room.

3 a-maze-ing PRODUCTS

Wykeham Mature Plants

Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)

Evergreen & fully hardy. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. June flowers with a range of sizes and forms available.

Price: POA

The Maze of Bamboo Screens by Yunchao Xu/Atelier Apeiron, Jiangsu, China

This temporary maze reusing the bamboo, wood, steel and stones wasted during the construction of the China Garden Art EXPO 2021 uses curved segments in different orientations, fanning out from the central circular form to create an open space to sit. The slim gaps in the maze walls allow users to visually connect while maintaining a sense of serenity with a cocooning effect.

Minotaur maze at Kielder Castle

Made from basalt stone and leading to a glistening glass room made from recycled glass, this maze was designed by artist Shona Kitchen and architect Nick Coombe.

Designing mazes

You can make a maze with almost anything. Hedging will take the longest to grow if you want it to have any height. Plants, bamboo, and crops such as maize, and sunflowers work well and are popular choices; however, mirrors, stone, brick, Corten steel, wood, and stainless steel are equally good and quicker choices.

A simple maze design can be drawn up on SketchUp software. Professional maze designers, such as Jeff Saward ( or Adrian Fisher ( are available for more complex projects.

Readyhedge Ltd

Carpinus betulus (Hornbeam)

A stunning easy to trim hedge that makes a great screen and will grow nearly anywhere with lovely soft green leaves.

Price: £69 per metre *inclusive of VAT

Stark & Greensmith

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.

Sunburst Decorative Arch

Originally designed for the Sunburst Garden at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival in 2022, your garden or maze can get the show garden look.

Price: £2,248

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022
You can make a maze with almost anything, not just hedging

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

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

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

Creating Better Spaces® for everyone

Creating Better Spaces® for everyone

As a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of hard landscaping products, we pride ourselves on always offering a high-quality, end-to-end service.

As a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of hard landscaping products, we pride ourselves on always offering a high-quality, end-to-end service.

Benefit from our wide range of products covering concrete, porcelain and natural stone — and work with us to ensure your customers are always supported.

Benefit from our wide range of products covering concrete, porcelain and natural stone — and work with us to ensure your customers are always supported.

Come and visit us at FutureScape Stand G70



Contact us today for more information and-driveways As a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of hard landscaping products, we pride ourselves on always offering a high-quality, end-to-end service. Benefit from our wide range of products covering concrete, porcelain and natural stone — and work with us to ensure your customers are always supported.

Find Verona


Since the pandemic, outdoor areas have been reinvented as stylish dining and relaxing spaces, providing an extra room in the home. More than just a place to sit and enjoy the fresh air, these spaces are now a design-led, practical addition to the nation’s homes, decorated with the latest furniture and accessories.

Catering for this rising demand in trend-led garden landscaping solutions, Verona has developed a selection of striking outdoor porcelain tiles, which the brand will showcase to buyers at this year’s FutureScape.

Over the past few years, Verona has focused on curating an expertly designed selection of outdoor tiles with

coordinating indoor designs. Spanning a variety of extralarge formats, striking patterns and stylish natural effects, there is something suited to every landscaping project.

Visitors to the stand can expect to see the Al Fresco collection, alongside the range of complementary installation accessories such as pedestals, slurry and brush-in grout, plus cleaning and protection solutions.

Returning to the show for a second time, Verona is hoping to further leverage its presence in the landscaping sector by showcasing its products and services, but also by engaging directly with the trade to discover valuable insights about the future of the market.

marketing manager at Verona comments: “The show was a huge success for us last year, helping to elevate our brand within a relatively new sector.

"We’re really excited about attending once again, as our recognition within the market has grown rapidly and this will enable us to put more focus on our innovative product range. We’re also hoping that by engaging directly with the trade, we will discover valuable insights into the future of the market.

“We will be running some exclusive deals at the show, so come along to stand K41 to

chat to our team and ask about our bespoke display stands which will really help sell your Verona product offering.”

To find out more, visit

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Verona is set to showcase its Al Fresco outdoor porcelain collection at the event
We’re really excited about attending once again, as our recognition within the market has grown rapidly and this will enable us to put more focus on our innovative product range

Take Five


The lighting announces Sayer Street as an attractive destination, as well as providing lighting on a human scale to envelop people in a warm surrounding light. The lighting was designed by Michael Grubb Studio to help activate the area and create calm, inviting spaces which are also safe and attract activity before the other areas of Elephant Park are completed.

Linear LEDs help to define the entrance to Sayer Street, alongside the illuminated signage, and are laid out diagonally throughout the structure to help create a rhythm. It’s a space for activity in the evenings and darker winter months with the lights turned on early to carry the ambience into the evening.

Designed by Heatherwick Studio in collaboration with landscape architect Mathews Nielsen, Little Island reimagines Pier 54 on Manhattan Island as an immersive experience with nature and art. In the evening, visitors will first notice the festively illuminated park from a distance, while strolling down the Hudson River Park Esplanade. The historic Cunard-White Star Line Arch, newly restored and sparkling with light, acts as an entry beacon leading to the luminous bridge and the uplit concrete pots supporting the park. Once arrived, the visitor can explore the various highlighted paths, ramps and stairs or marvel at the unparalleled views. The lighting design is by Fisher Marantz Stone.

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Lighting expert Ray Molony selects five recent landscape lighting projects that have broken new ground ©Mike Massaro ©Michael Grimm Photography


This publicly accessible park creates a ‘green ribbon’ linking the various residential and commercial developments along Nine Elms Lane. The lighting scheme by Equation supports this vision by applying identical lighting strategies and luminaire typologies throughout the external parts of each development. The beautiful lighting is conceived as a series of lighting layers –comprising functional, accent and feature lighting elements – which work together to reveal and enhance the landscape and promote intuitive wayfinding. Enhanced levels of vertical illuminance on roads and footpaths ensure good facial recognition which promotes a sense of personal safety, security, and wellbeing for all users.


The illumination of this island nature path is a sensitive exploration in how little light one needs to make the walk a magical experience. The design studio Light Bureau ensured that the artificial light would avoid all glare and keep the light levels low so that the views across the fjord would remain intact. The firm developed bespoke fixtures with a reduced light output and highly shielded sources. Corten steel was the material of choice due to its robust qualities and natural patina that would blend in and be complementary to the natural environment both during day and nighttime.


This ambitious transformation of an outdoor activity centre has become a masterclass in how to manage light in a sensitive area. Part of Snowdonia, the area attracts thousands of visitors annually, but has been suffering from light pollution and glare that’s visible for miles. The first move of lighting design practice Dark Source was to ensure that most light fittings are now below the eye level, focusing the light on the horizontal plane while keeping it human scale. All luminaires face downwards to avoid upwards travelling light. The site now meets the dark sky quality required and delivers an engaging night-time experience.

Ray Molony is editor of the Circular Lighting Report and head of content at the Build Back Better Awards. He was the co-founder of Revo Media, whose brands included the LuxLive exhibition, LuxLive Middle East, Lux Review, Lighting magazine and the Lighting Design Awards. He’s the award-winning author of ‘Light: Re-Interpreting Architecture’ (Rotovision, 2014). He studied engineering at Dublin City University.

Ray Molony will be chairing the Lighting Zone theatre at FutureScape 2022 at ExCeL London on Tuesday 15 November and Wednesday 16 November 2022. It brings together top lighting designers and experts who will explain how award-winning lighting projects were created, and share their experience and insights into what makes a great lighting scheme. Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 November

3prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 ADVICE 92
©Arve Olsen,Kristofer Ryde,Katine Lund,Paul Traynor ©Philip Avery
RAY MOLONY 5©Dylan Parry Evans, Karl Midlane, Dani Robertson, Kerem Asfuroglu
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Fired U p

Both woodburner fire bowls and gas fire pits make great additions to an outdoor space. Two leading suppliers explain the benefits of each, the key considerations, and the aftercare of these products


TALOR Garden Furniture explains how to create an atmosphere with gas fire pits

“There is no better feeling than sitting outside on a cool autumn evening, enjoying the warm and relaxing glow of your very own firepit. A source of heat, light and a centrepiece in its own right, a garden firepit is the perfect way to reclaim an outdoor space this season.

Gas firepits are a great addition to a garden or patio area with the advantages of both being easy to maintain and convenient. Although there is a consideration for housing a gas bottle, long gone are the days of fiddling and fighting the wind with sticks and matches. Simply turn on the burner and relax! When the client is finished, then can simply let it cool and wipe down the surfaces.

Ideally suited as an accompaniment to a lounge or

sofa set, gas firepits create interest and welcome in guests, whether that be to a cosy corner patio or a focal point for a larger open plan seating area. When designing, the main consideration is how the client wishes to use the space; a more relaxed family space can often be smaller allowing the firepit to take centre stage. However, those looking to fill a larger space may wish to enlist the help of some choice accent lighting or an additional statement piece to really set the scene. With a wealth of style options, easy operation, and being a more eco-friendly option than others on the market, it is clear to see why more and more people are making the switch to gas.”

“A firepit is an excellent way to add interest to your garden and will even allow you to get more out of your space. The right firepit will create a stunning focal point in the garden, adding purpose to the area and, if you choose the right one, can even be an artistic feature. There are a few considerations when choosing a firepit.

The pros are:

• Heat output will keep you outside for longer • Stunning visual addition

• Crackle of burning wood is fantastic! But the cons are:

• Wrong fuel can result in some smoke

• The wrong firepit could be an eyesore (But not ours!)

When choosing a firepit you should consider: Where will you put it? Is there space for seating around? Where will you store firewood? What will the firepit look like when it isn’t burning? We recommend choosing a beautiful piece, like our carved steel firepits. These look great when they are burning, but also look amazing as artwork. Think also about your

choice of fuel – using wellseasoned wood will reduce smoke and you can often get this locally from a nearby country estate or similar. Our final top tip is to get a supply of natural fire lighters and kindling to make lighting the fire as easy as possible!

Our firepits are made from steel and generally colour naturally. They require very little maintenance, just the occasional clear out. If your firepit has a painted finish this will need to be touched up periodically. Think also about how sturdy the piece is – you can get very cheap, thin firepits, but they won’t last long.

You can also get pieces made from more significant steel, which will have a longer life. Our pieces are all hand drawn and cut in our workshop near Cambridge and we sell a wide range of similar designs.”

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Woodburner fire pits can easily be implemented with advice from The Fire Pit Company
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Sheila Jack is making a name for herself in the industry. She was recently named as one of House & Gardens’ ‘rising stars’ as a relative newcomer to the industry – though ‘new’ might not be quite the right word. Sheila might have only started her garden design practice five years ago, but she had experience with the industry beforehand, working for a magazine which was a media sponsor of the Laurent-Perrier gardens at Chelsea “during that epic Tom Stuart-Smith era,” she says, adding “seeing those gardens up close was hugely inspirational”.

It wasn’t the only inspiration for Sheila to switch careers as magazine art director to join the horticulture industry. Her parents were avid garden visitors, taking Sheila as a child to the likes of Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the UK and Villa d’Este in Italy when abroad. Her first job was working for the architect Norman Foster,

putting together presentations for his studio.

She’d trained as a graphic designer, though, and worked as an art director for US Vogue in New York and UK Harper’s Bazaar in London. Sheila then reconfigured her own garden, adding a garden office, and carried out small garden tasks for friends. So, when she was ready for a career change, a friend suggested she talk to Andrew Wilson at the London College of Garden Design (LCGD).

“As soon as you talk to Andrew, you’ve signed up to the course!” says Sheila, laughing. “All those visual strands from my past feed into my present-day job as a landscape designer, and there’s a whole range of

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Just five years into founding her own garden design studio, Sheila Jack is rising up the ranks
©Lisa Linder

transferable art and design skills. I like doing pencil sketches to create an idea or an atmosphere, and I was already using InDesign and Photoshop and had always been interested in photography, art and architecture – so, in a way, although it’s a steep learning curve in many areas such as construction and planting details, there are still so many parallels to what I have been doing my whole professional life. It seemed like a natural evolution.”

Sheila excelled on her design course too, winning the Top Student award. “The course was amazing, though just the beginning of learning in so many ways.” After graduating, Sheila started gaining “valuable experience” by working for other established designers such as Emily Erlam, Marcus Barnett, Butter Wakefield and Andrew Wilson as part of Wilson McWilliam Studio (now WcMilliam Studio). She says this also allowed her to meet “brilliant” landscapers, subcontractors and craftspeople. “It’s a very generous industry. People are not jealously guarding secrets or anything; they’re all so supportive and giving their knowledge and experience, which is lovely.”

Alongside working for other designers, Sheila was running her own London-based studio. As her own work increased, she was able to focus more on her own clients and growing her own practice. “But always with the idea that it would be a small-scale studio that would allow me to maintain close connections with every client and provide an individual, personalised service,” says Sheila. “When I worked with magazines, it was with quite big teams and I really wasn’t looking to do that; I was looking to do something that would allow me to have a personal touch and contact.”

Most of Sheila’s work now comes through referrals, and not just from clients; designers who Sheila has worked for previously now

refer jobs to her which they are either too busy to undertake or are not quite suitable for their own studio.

So, momentum has been building for Sheila’s studio. A fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers, Sheila has scooped two SGD Awards already, one in 2017 and another last year. And now, she’s “flattered” to have been included in House & Gardens list of ‘rising stars’ alongside the likes of Adolfo Harrison, Alexandra Noble, Lilly Gomm and Tom Simpson. Her approach, she says, is “quietly contemporary”, using natural materials such as stone, timber and gravel but with a modern aesthetic – though client discussions are always the starting point for Sheila’s designs.

“The project is always inspired by clients, the landscape, the architecture, and always having that strong sense of place. I feel very strongly about there being a genuine sensitivity to the existing landscape, but then backing that up with precise attention to detail and a more effusive, naturalistic planting. I work very hard to make something as simple as possible to allow the planting to take centre stage.”

This is all on top of taking the environmental impact into account, of course. “I remember Dan Pearson saying that a key part of any designer’s role would be to educate the client, but not in a patronising way. Often, a client will ask for a list of desires such as fake grass because they simply don’t realise the environmental impact of a product like that and that there are other options to give them what they are after.

“I try to adopt a light touch on projects, using locally sourced materials and reusing materials wherever possible. For example, on a recent project, we were able to recycle the concrete waste from the

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All those visual strands from my past feed into my present-day job as a landscape designer

build demotion in gabion retaining walls. On another project, there was some really lovely Yorkstone paving which we were able to re-lay. By incorporating other retained materials, sourced fairly locally, you’re able to bring something into a contemporary context and not just throw everything out.

“I also give careful consideration to not overusing irrigation and try to use permeable materials such as gravel; even little changes make a big difference.”

For planting schemes, Sheila sits somewhere in the middle of the native vs non-native debate. “Native planting is fundamentally important to the landscape, particularly at a larger scale, regenerating the species that are the fabric of our landscape and our sense of place. And non-native plants bring with them issues of culture, context and invasive [pests and diseases], but some respond better to climate change as well as other environmental changes, such as urbanisation.

“A carefully controlled, designed landscape and garden can be hugely beneficial to biodiversity and pollinators, and non-native plants play a crucial role alongside native species. We’re very careful about planning what we’re using and avoiding becoming too polarised as designers. I would never want to say I’m not going to use non-natives, but I would definitely want to think about how they’re being used.”

As a “fairly new designer” Sheila says she’s always listening and learning from others in the industry, and has the benefit of collaborating with various professionals across her projects, most of which are London-based and are often part of a wider house renovation or rebuild. “It’s even more important, on projects like this, to discuss how materials are being used and from

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1 Planting scheme for Tom Raffield’s 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower show trade stand ©Tom Young Photography 2 Hampstead garden ©Lisa Linder 3 Highbury courtyard garden ©Lisa Linder 4 Detail from meadow garden ©Lisa Linder

how far they’re been brought in. But I enjoy collaborating with architects, interior designers, highly skilled landscaper contractors, craftsmen and nurseries –they all come to the table with a raft of knowledge, and we all come together to create something unique for clients.”

Sheila is currently working on a small garden in Notting Hill, where the house was recently renovated, as well as a garden in Belsize Park where the house is undergoing a full renovation, a project in Kensington and one in Hammersmith. She has also designed a large roof terrace in Hampstead which is waiting for planning permission and which she admits is the largest and most challenging roof terrace she has worked on to date.

“They have an exceptional architect working on the project, and if you take good advice from structural engineers, then you’re fine. I don’t think you can be expected to know everything yourself; you need to lean on professionals who can give you advice. Roof terraces are tricky spaces, but that’s what makes them interesting. And this project is reclaiming something that is currently just a few rundown garages, so it’s making something entirely different, which will be fun.”

As well as a raft of projects in London, Sheila is also working on a project in Wiltshire and another in Oxfordshire. Alongside many others in the industry, she is experiencing the post-COVID boom. “People are placing much more value on their outside space and their homes in general. We all face a whole new set

of challenges, though, in the coming months. It’s a ‘wait and see’ as to what the trickledown effect will be of everything that’s going on in the world.”

The cost-of-living crisis hasn’t impacted client spending just yet, though Sheila says clients have always value engineered and, as a designer, she has always wanted to be fairly rigorous on how their money is being spent. “I’m always very conscious that whenever I draw a line on a plan, that’s costing someone else money, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing to be aware of. You should always make sure they’re getting value out of what you’re adding, maximising what they have to create something that they are going to love and want to take ownership of, to help it to grow and evolve.”

Economic uncertainties aside, Sheila hopes to continue carrying out “interesting work and with interesting people” to create these projects, “developing schemes for inspirational clients who have built new houses or renovated old buildings and are always wanting to create or enhance that unique sense of place.”

She also enjoys working on show gardens, though doesn’t necessarily have ambitions

to be the main designer – yet. Sheila collaborated with furniture designer Tom Raffield on his five-star trade stand ‘Force of Nature’ at RHS Chelsea in 2019, and she has planted for other designers at shows, such as for fellow LCGD graduate Tom Massey’s Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Chelsea in September last year and his Lemon Tree Trust Garden three years before that. She seems to have avoided catching the ‘Chelsea bug’ for now. “Show gardens are a huge undertaking; with a sharp intake of breath, never say never, but I have no immediate plans. "It’s a lovely chance for the industry to come together, though. Even if you only do it for a couple of days, it’s great fun.”

Sheila is instead becoming a reputable designer in the capital, building her portfolio of ‘quietly contemporary’ projects across London and establishing herself alongside the designers she was so thrilled to have gained experience with as a graduate. ‘Rising star’ is surely an understatement.

5 West London white garden

Willoughby Dyer

Notting Hill Mews ©Lisa Linder

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 FEATURE 102
I try to adopt a light touch on projects, using locally sourced materials and reusing materials wherever possible
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L ockdown was difficult, but there were arguably some silver linings, the widely reported increase in gardening for one. But people seemingly weren’t just growing plants to please the eye. In 2020, 7.4 million Brits tried growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs for the first time throughout the pandemic, according to organic beauty brand Weleda.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the landscaping industry has reported a rise in clients requesting edible planting in their gardens. So, what’s behind the demand? And how can edible gardening be incorporated into both large schemes and small domestic spaces?

“There has been an upsurge of interest in edible gardens since lockdown, as people spent more time in their gardens. This has

tFOODforthoughLockdown seemingly sparked an interest in Brits to grow their own fruit and veg, but is there more behind this surge than being stuck at home? And how can the landscaping industry help clients to incorporate edible gardening into their outdoor spaces?

coincided with a greater awareness of the threat of climate change and the need for everybody to play their part in adopting a more sustainable approach to everyday life, including cutting down on food miles,” says James Scott, managing director of The Garden Company.

“People are becoming so much more aware of the link between good food, health, nutrition and wellbeing, and biodiversity loss, soil degradation and climate change,” adds Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg of Harris Bugg Studio, the company behind the new Kitchen Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater. “Growing edibles is an easy, accessible way to make that first step and doesn't need to be more than pots on a terrace if that’s how you’d like to start.”

Related to this increase in sustainable living is the rise of veganism, which garden

designer Ann-Marie Powell says is also driving an interest in people growing their own food. “It's no surprise to me that youngsters are wanting their own new food stories because it supports their lifestyle and what they really care about. Allotmenteering and growing your own is no longer the hippie or grandad pastime that it once was; it’s for everybody. And the rise of veganism over the last few years has been amazing.”

More recently, rising food prices could be tempting people to try alternatives. Brits have seen supermarket food prices soar to the highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and market research firm Nielsen IQ. A combination of the war in Ukraine and summer droughts led to a 5.7% hike in food prices in September, up from 5.1% the previous month.

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“The demand for organic food is growing exponentially and the cost-of-living crisis is making people consider growing their own organic food whilst simultaneously benefitting from getting their hands into the soil and knowing that they are feeding their family with truly healthy organic food,” says Tony Brophy of Gaia Gardeners whose project ‘Frank’s Garden’, which included an edible garden, won Pro Landscaper’s small project BIG IMPACT Award 2021 for Sustainable Garden of the Year. “Once people have grown their own and tasted the difference between bland, homogenous supermarket alternatives they never look back.”

Though growing your own produce doesn’t always cut costs. “Edible gardening is not necessarily a money-saver. There are likely to be some fixed costs at the start

when setting up, and then some ongoing costs too,” says James. “However, if you consider the non-financial benefits –including sustainability, enjoyment, freshness and flavour – it is easy to see why edible gardening is on the increase. And some specific crops are definitely cheaper when home-grown rather than relying on supermarket supplies. These include fresh herbs and salad leaves, both of which can be eye-wateringly expensive in the fruit and veg aisles.”

Even with lockdowns (hopefully) now long behind us, ‘grow your own’ remains popular, “even if it has fallen back somewhat from lockdown heights,” says RHS chief horticulturist Guy Barter, who adds that the RHS web pages continue to be “much visited”. This is helping

gardeners across the UK – and further afield – to take up edible gardening.

“Use of edible plants in ornamental areas – front gardens, for example – or making edible gardens attractive in their own right, as with permaculture, has increased in importance as gardeners cope with shortages of space to garden and seek gardens that contribute more to the quest for sustainability – using fruiting or nut trees instead of purely ornamental ones for example.

“The RHS encourages this by advising on how to grow edible plants, how to grow them in pots for example and helping source plants that have potential for ornamental and edible usage. RHS gardens now include areas of their edible gardens as more integrated plantings and also using a wider range of plants of global importance such as sharks fin melons and yams. Traditional more utilitarian plots and orchards remain but we manage these along sustainable lines to enhance soil health and promote ecological services that these gardens can provide.”

What should you consider for


Take the Kitchen Garden at RHS Bridgewater, which has four planting zones: a forest garden, an herbal garden, a formal vegetable garden, surrounded by walltrained fruit against/around the walls of the garden. The core hope, say Charlotte and Hugo, was for visitors to take inspiration from this 11-acre walled garden for their own gardens, regardless of size.


An edible garden can be as small as a single container or as large as the space allows, complete with rows of raised beds, fruit trees and berry bushes.


A sunny position is ideal, but many edible plants will also grow well in partial shade. Access to a water supply is important too.


As a designer, it is important to consider how the edible garden space will be integrated with ornamental parts of the garden.


Well-draining soil that is rich and moist, with neutral acidity is ideal for most fruit and vegetable growing.


A garden shed, greenhouse or potting bench can all play a useful part. Of course, if the client has the space and budget, a greenhouse provides plants with a safe haven protected from extreme weather and insects.


What does the client want to eat (especially considering that they may have a large supply).

“The brief from the RHS was to create an accessible, approachable and inclusive kitchen garden to engage and inspire new audiences, based on ‘Everyone can grow’ principles. In response we designed a relevant, varied and experimental productive garden that has rich resource for all levels of experience and home space.

“The garden has a range of different ways to grow edibles – traditional raised beds, a food forest, wall trained fruit and more. It also features a modern apothecary garden channelling the Victorian utilitarian spirit of productive gardens and showcasing plants for teas, tinctures, dyes, medicine, perfume and beauty. We hope that Bridgewater’s kitchen garden acts as a gateway – a place for inspiration, experimentation and, dare we say it, failure! We purposefully wanted it to be a place that is realistic, relatable and relevant.

“Even though the footprint is just under two acres, we have examples of edibles in pots, in ponds, growing up structures, being

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James Scott of The Garden Company shares the top things to take into account

trained along the walls. We wanted it to be as relevant for a windowsill in Wilmslow, a balcony in Bolton or a family garden in Goole. The beds are designed using the abstracted field networks of the area in the Victorian period, but what this means is that the bed sizes are unusual shapes and sizes –much like our own gardens.”

The RHS isn’t the only one incorporating edible spaces into its gardens. The National Trust has more than 60 kitchen gardens across its estates, says Steve Candy, head gardener at Kingston Lacy, which has recently started the phased restoration of its Victorian kitchen garden. Owned previously by generations of the Bankes family, the kitchen garden was a vital aspect of the estate in Dorset. It would supply the house on site and the family’s other houses, as well as supplying huge amounts for the local market, says Steve.

Kitchen gardens remain incredibly important across the National Trust too for the impact they have on visitors. “They are not only historic, but they also showcase what people can do in their

own garden. So as much as we tend to be doing it on a much larger scale – our kitchen garden here will be six acres in size – you can do it in the size of a postage stamp. There are always opportunities to be able to grow your own fruit and veg, whether it be some potatoes or runner beans, and incorporate it into your own garden as well. So, it's really exciting for us to be able to show what we can do, but also so that people can take it away and utilise it in their own spaces.”

It's important to start small when incorporating edible planting into a domestic garden, using just couple of varieties, says Steve. “I would start by using pots or raised beds; it’s the simplest way to actually start learning how to grow things. It’s all about experimentation.”

Clients can then start to expand their plots, depending on the space available. Steve suggests fruit trees espaliered up a wall to save space, or incorporating edible planting into mixed borders, something which Charlotte and Hugo say they are being asked for. Most clients are asking for at least herbs, they say; but people are increasingly interested in how productive plants can be weaved through ornamental planting too.

Ann-Marie, who designed The World Food Garden


Work has begun on bringing the Victorian Kitchen Garden at the Kingston Lacy estate in Dorset back to life. The gardening team will be rejuvenating what was once a flourishing and vital part of the garden for the Bankes’ family, which owned Kingston Lacy for generations.

The National Trust took over the estate in the early 1980s, but with a limited workforce and a vast amount of restoration needed across the grounds, it decided to let the site of the kitchen garden on a long-term lease. When it came back into its hands just over a decade ago, the National Trust decided to add 120 allotments onto the site.

“We worked with local community groups, schools and individuals to start to tell the story to our visitors of what the Bankes family might have been doing all those years ago,” explains head gardener, Steve Candy. “We built up a strong community feeling across the whole site and started to then restore other areas that needed our attention in the kitchen garden.”

Since, the allotments have been located to a neighbouring field with a continued community feel with the Kingston Lacy site, and the years-long restoration of the Bankes’ kitchen garden has commenced. Separated into four stages, the first was to reinstall the former path and hedge network. Then a shrub and tree boundary was to be planted around the perimeter for the second phase, followed by the restoration of the wrought iron gates and ornamental fencing. The final phase is replanting the former apple orchards and recreating the apple archway which spans the width of the garden.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 FEATURE 107
People are becoming so much more aware of the link between good food, health, nutrition and wellbeing, and biodiversity loss, soil degradation and climate change
Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg, Harris Bugg Studio

at RHS Garden Wisley (read more about this on page 71), says edibles are attractive plants, and there are plenty of perennial crops to grow in pots or mixed in with perennial borders. Ann-Marie herself has blueberries, strawberries and redcurrants mixed in with her dahlias.

“We’ve done that quite a lot for clients in the past, with things like artichokes, cabbages and kale. They offer a lot of texture to plantings and also visual rest where your eye can alight on them between all the glory of beautiful herbaceous flowers and blooms. If you’re growing edibles mixed in with your perennial borders, for example, there’s lots of winter crops that can replace your annual crops in your borders, so you never end up with gaps.

“And these days, you don’t have to grow from seed either; there are so many different companies offering seedlings of vegetables, so you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to grow things on without a greenhouse.”

There are a few things to consider when adding kitchen gardens, or any form of edible planting, to a client’s garden. The first question Ann-Marie asks is: How much time have you got? “We have a duty of care not to put in something that’s really complex… We’ll often put in something that could be extended or think about mixing in edibles with other planting.”

Then there’s successional planting that will allow you to keep cropping throughout the year, even in the winter, says Ann-Marie.

Soil health is king though, she adds. Gaia Gardeners is a certified ‘Master Organic Gardener’ from Gaia College, and Tony says the company’s primary focus is on the quality of the soil,

“building up the soil organic matter with good composting techniques and increasing the microbial activity in the soil.

“Most soils in southern England have less than 2% organic matter, but in the rest of the British Isles 2-6% may be found. At Gaia Gardeners we aim to manage the levels of soil organic matter to get acceptable plant growth, which will typically mean that organic matter levels should be close to 6%.”

It is also important, adds Tony, that the client grows what they like to eat and is advised on the best available varieties. “We recommend growing edible flowers along with edible plants and vegetables and direct clients to Sarah Raven’s excellent website which contains a lot of useful information and a range of really interesting edible flowers and plants. We recommend harvesting just half the herbs, then let the rest go to bloom, which attracts pollinators that are beneficial to the garden. Many herbs such as sage, dill, parsley and rosemary are beautiful, fragrant additions to cut bouquets, combined with other more traditional garden flowers.”

For those without access to their own gardens, there are a variety of community growing projects which incorporate edible gardening. “Some of the most fascinating and inspiring edible landscapes are made by the many community groups that we work with who plant community

orchards and food gardens, sometimes in conjunction with local parks,” says Guy. “The RHS Campaign for School Gardening also promotes growing edible plants to children, teachers and parents.”

Tony highlights Nantes in France, where the parks department has added ‘Gourmet Stations’ to many of its public open spaces, when visitors can pick their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

“Each of these ‘Gourmet Stations’ is planted, tended and run by inhabitants’ associations and groups. Edible landscaping is a concept that all the 339 local authorities in England should be considering and following the ‘best practice’ example of Nantes,” says Tony. There are a few considerations, though, to ensure that kitchen gardens being introduced, whether in public or private spaces, are sustainable. Talking about the Kitchen Garden at Bridgewater, Charlotte and Hugo say: “The forest garden is strongly influenced by permaculture principles, which seek to emulate natural woodland ecosystems as closely as possible. Once established, it continues to produce food but requires little or no artificial energy input, no chemical fertiliser or pesticides, and minimal labour, all of which mean lower negative environmental impacts. As the trees grow the soil locks up increasing carbon, just like a natural forest system.

“We also thought carefully about how to attract beneficial insects and other wildlife into the garden. For example, three long water tanks and a natural pool encourage wildlife, as does a richly pollinator-friendly planting approach right across the garden. The traditional planting areas with raised beds are being cultivated with no dig principles.”

So, regardless of the size of the client’s garden, and the time that the client has to spend in it, there are plenty of options for incorporating edible gardening into a project – and with a recent boom in ‘grow your own’ interest, now is arguably the best time to suggest it.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 FEATURE 108
Some of the most fascinating and inspiring edible landscapes are made by the many community groups that we work with who plant community orchards and food gardens, sometimes in conjunction with local parks
Guy Barter, RHS chief horticulturist


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Gareth Wilson kicks off a three-part series on tackling issues related to clay soil

Where I live in The Peak District, the reservoirs are as low as I can remember, and it’s been the hottest summer on record. With all the heat and lack of rain, there’s been a glut of patios all over the country heaving/moving latterly on clay soil. This has caused some contractors a lot of headaches in having to re-lay them and has hit their pockets hard. What contractors must remember is under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 they must guarantee their work for six years.

So, what can be done by a contractor to minimise the risk of clay heave issues? The two easy answers are to lay

paving on a concrete slab or have a sub-base designed by a specialist who would carry out the California Baring Ratio test and specify the sub-base for you. But for most landscapers these are not viable as they don’t have clients

who will extend their budgets to laying a concrete slab and the subsequent sub-base below a concrete slab. Also, with concrete slabs you have got curing times to consider before you can think of laying and grouting. Now this made me think of cost-effective alternatives, and what I and other landscapers have done in the past to combat clay soils. Firstly, there is the alternative of adding a capping layer at formation level at 100mm compacted depth. This can be a clean certified 6F2 (recycled type 1) and should be seated directly on top of sub-soil or compacted clay. Next, a layer of unwoven geotextile separation membrane and then a quarried MOT type 1 sub-base – again at 150mm compacted depth. Both a capping layer and a type 1 should be compacted in 75mm layers that will compact down to approximately 50mm, using the heaviest compacter you can use. My preference here for a patio would be a forward and reverse diesel compacter with a minimum of five passes two ways.

Next, a bedding mortar. I would add concreting fibres to the mix for more compressive strength and up 75% more flexural strength. A bedding mortar layer

I would be installing at 50mm depth. Now, at the end of each day’s laying of the pavers, I would add brick ties to the bedding mortar. This will then tie in each day’s bedding mortar, therefore connecting laying beds together, cutting down the risk of lateral movement (see Figure 1).

The second step would be to add 6mm concreting mesh in the middle of 50mm depth of bedding mortar and tying each sheet of mesh together (see Figure 2).

Many landscapers have had perimeter border detail issues, whether that be setts or linear paving borders detaching or heaving from the main patio. In this situation, many landscapers lay the main patio and add border detail on lastly to create two separate entities. In this case, I'd insert brick ties into the mortar bed of the main patio. This will directly connect to the bedding mortar of the border detail to the main patio and/or add an edge restraint hunched in concrete. Edge restraints need not be seen and can sit below the edge detail/ paving and be turfed up to meet the paving.

Gareth is a panellist for: How To Become A Better Landscaper, Tuesday 15 November, 3pm, Training, Education and Employment Village


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

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 OPINION 111
What contractors must remember is under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 they must guarantee their work for six years
With thanks to Rachel Platt for the cross section drawings


to your business?

Invest in clear terms and conditions/a contract that has been developed for your own unique business by a solicitor or specialist. This doesn’t have to be costly but is an investment that can save you literally thousands should the worst happen.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing a construction law solicitor recently, for the Evolve and Grow podcast show, which was insightful to say the least! Unsurprisingly, the kind of issues they help their clients navigate are the same types of problems I help our clients avoid. The podcast discussion focused to a large degree on builders; however, there are many parallels with other trade businesses, including landscapers.

Common mistakes businesses make include not having terms and conditions or any contract in place with the customer. So, when things go wrong, there simply isn’t anything documented to state what has been agreed. This obviously makes it far harder to defend in a court of law. To compound this, a habit of burying one’s head in the sand, hoping that it will ‘work itself out’ is not a good approach to take! Inevitably the problem escalates and goes from a niggle to a great big problem with the relationship sometimes completely breaking down.

The majority of disputes involve either payment issues and/or the over-running of projects, which is always a risk in a climate of fluctuating supply chains and the cost-of-living crisis. So, how can you best protect yourself?

Inform your customer in advance of any expected delays or problems and explain how you are planning to deal with them. Any good relationship has been built upon honest, open and timely communication.

If it is a lengthy project, hold a pre-start meeting to set expectations and follow up with regular meetings throughout to encourage open communication, track progress and invite feedback.

Have the difficult conversations in person, but follow up on email. This way you can position it in the right way, but also have a record of what was discussed and agreed.

Keep a record of any text or WhatsApp messages, in addition to emails, so that you have a record of full correspondence and exactly what was discussed and agreed.

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

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

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 OPINION 112
Common mistakes businesses make include not having terms and conditions or any contract in place with the customer
Trades’ coach Alison Warner explains how to avoid legal disputes or disagreements with your customers

Bringing your design ideas

Photo by Erik Mclean on unsplash Design by
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Mentioning the MENOPAUSE

Menopause is a natural change in women, which can result in a range of debilitating physical and/or psychological symptoms such as headaches, hot flushes, fatigue, depression, sleep disruption, anxiety and memory loss. Menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic, with an expected upward trend.

A major survey conducted in 2017 by the Wales Trades Union Congress found that 88% of women workers who had experienced menopause felt it had an effect on working life, with around six in 10 reporting they had witnessed the issue being treated as a joke in the workplace. Depending on the severity, menopause can seriously impact on the individual’s capacity to cope with everyday activities or perform their job duties. Given that the symptoms can last up to several years, it is vital that sufferers receive the support they need from employers.

Currently there is no legislation that specifically addresses menopause. However, employees may have recourse under one of the three protected characteristics of age, sex, or disability discrimination available under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act). Unfair treatment to an employee or worker that puts them at a disadvantage because of their sex or age could be discrimination under the Act.

In some cases, menopause could be considered a disability if severe enough and the impairments are long-term. In the recent appeal decision of Rooney v Leicester City Council (2022), it was held that the tribunal had wrongly decided that an employee's

alleged menopausal symptoms did not amount to a disability for the purposes of a discrimination claim under the Act.

A government commissioned investigation was conducted by the Women and Equalities Committee, which resulted in an independent report published in November 2021. The report contained 10 recommendations aimed at bringing about comprehensive change and support for those experiencing menopause, in key areas of government policy, employer practice, and wider societal and financial change. The government, officially responding in July 2022, concluded that no further changes to the Act were needed. This decision was reached following the analysis of a string of recent cases which showed that employees have scope within the Act to challenge discriminatory treatment for menopause under one or more of the three protected characteristics.

Employers must also be mindful of their obligation to provide safe working conditions under the Health and Safety Act 1974, which also applies to those suffering from menopausal symptoms. This may be accomplished by conducting

risk assessments which include specific risks to menopausal women. Appropriate measures may include regulating the office temperature, adequate ventilation, or offering a type of flexible work arrangement.

For employers who have not yet introduced menopause support, now may be the time. The risks are significant, as is the danger to the employer’s reputation. An increasing number of tribunal claims are brought, and won, on discrimination experienced due to menopause. Consideration of menopause support is perhaps of paramount importance for employee morale and retaining key employees.


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:

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 ADVICE 115
Kai Sammer and Kumsal Kaleli of Oracle
Solicitors explain how understanding employers are obliged to be of menopausal symptoms
For employers who have not yet introduced menopause support, now may be the time. The risks are significant, as is the danger to the employer’s reputation

Difficulty obtaining spare parts for older machines could force companies to replace with newer kit, says Angus Lindsay


No matter how meticulously you plan, check and double-check, there will always be something which catches you off-guard and stops the job: the inaccessible grub-screw which manages to loosen itself causing a shaft to stop turning, an intermittent fault code, or the failure of materials or equipment to arrive on time. Frustratingly, it usually comes down to one simple thing that was missed or beyond our control, which leads to a domino effect that causes everything to stop and takes several days to recover from.

We are all too aware that in the current climate getting spare parts and new equipment is a challenge, so much so that we are having to consider retaining vehicles and machinery for longer than would normally be the case. This is all well and good as long as you can keep them going. Operating older equipment may not look the best, but if it still delivers as it was originally designed to then it makes perfect sense to continue to use it as long as it’s safe and you can still get the parts.

I am beginning to notice that some manufacturers, albeit a small minority, are no longer able to support older products, which in some cases is forcing investments to be made in newer products which may look the part but don’t deliver the same as its predecessor. Streamlining manufacturing processes to reduce maintenance requirements has given us sealed for life bearings, (though it is debatable as to how long that may be) and has rendered the humble grease nipple an alien concept to some. I hasten to add that for the majority of manufacturers parts are available; if the computer doesn’t know where they are, there will be someone who’s been there for years who’ll find what you need on a dusty shelf.

Undoubtedly, technology makes things more efficient and cheaper to produce, but sometimes it can also lead to an in-built redundancy which can significantly shorten the useful working life with no option but to replace. This is the case with many electronic goods – I’m sure we’ve all bought a TV or microwave which, on the anniversary of its guarantee expiring, promptly stops working and costs more than the cost of a new model to repair!

We see it in the automotive industry where vehicles are facelifted every couple of years, but eventually phased out and replaced, while the parts to keep the original version operational have become more difficult to obtain. Strange that the classic vehicle market still seems to be buoyant, but we can’t get parts for a 2011 pick-up truck! So, when does current become classic?

Operating older equipment may not look the best, but if it still delivers as it was originally designed to then it makes perfect sense to continue to use it

There is a similar issue with people, and in particular those who have been with businesses for several years and whose experience is relied on and taken for granted. How long is it before they, too, become obsolete, replaced by newer versions with great ideas but no experience or understanding of how things work? Potentially more damaging than a missing grub screw.

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

OPINION prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022116

Reclaiming valuable raw material from waste

Our range of recycled plastic tables are of exceptional quality and maintenance free - ideal for any outdoor location from pubs and parks to sea fronts. All our recycled plastic furniture is manufactured from quality, heavy, solid lumber sections.

By choosing our quality recycled products and choosing the environmentally friendly option, your purchase and ongoing costs are substantially reduced. All items are available in a range of styles and colours for use by adults and children alike.

The base frames as standard are black with a choice of black, brown, green or grey available for the seats and table tops. The number of slats on the table tops and seats vary depending on the profile colour choice - please enquire for further details.

solid edging in various lengths and thickness

01269 826740 Recycled waste plastic

STACKS of choice

What are Stackers?

Natural Stone diamond cut to an on-trend narrow format to create a ‘parquet style’ paving and walling surface which can be laid in a variety of patterns. Stackers are precision cut to industry standard of +/- 2mm providing a perfect finish every time. Available in a great range of eight natural stones from dark grey to beige and creams and a variety of finishes, Stackers are the perfect choice for driveways, paths, terrace inlays feature walls. Zahra Beige & Alexandria Limestone Stackers are reversible as they have alternative finishes on either side, allowing greater combinations and flexibility of design.

What are Stackers made of?

Stackers are natural limestones and sandstones which are frost tested and extremely durable for use as an external paving & walling surface.

What are the benefits of Stackers?

Stackers originate from the recutting and processing of stone by-product meaning that they are a sustainable choice compared with similar small format paving options which use a large amount of heat in the firing process. The repurposing of a natural stone by-product uses less a greatly reduced amount of energy than a freshly quarried stone and also the amount of carbon emitted in quarrying and transportation.

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022118
PROMOTION The range of products available from Allgreen Group allows landscapers to create perfect outdoor spaces
Stackers are the perfect choice for driveways, paths, terrace inlays and feature walls
• Available from UK Stock • Popular format: 50 x 200 x 40mm • Available in 8 colours and a range of finishes • Suitable for use as external paving and cladding • Beautiful and sustainable natural sandstones and limestones KEY FACTS ABOUT STACKERS


Stackers are cut with precise accuracy which enables fast installation and the ability to create uniform patterns and enhanced versatility. Hard limestone and sandstones are typically less porous than clay pavers providing a durable and low maintenance surface which will last for decades. Available in paving, coping, setts and bespoke made items.

How are Stackers produced?

Stackers are cut from processed stone by-product in Somerset, UK and in our partnered Quarry Facilities in Spain, Portugal, Egypt and India. The high percentage of recycled content make Stackers an environmental and sustainable choice.

What are the need-to-knows for the installation?

Stackers are recommended to be laid on a compacted coarse sand base for pedestrian traffic and a cement screed base for driveway traffic set to falls to suit the application site. Boundary edges should be installed on a concrete haunched base with a bridge bond primer slurry as you would install a clay or concrete paver. Jointing styles include butt jointing with kiln dried sand, cementitious grout and 1-3mm washed grit depending on the type of base used. If installed on a vertical surface a suitable external tile adhesive can be used such as ARDEX X32.


prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 119
The high percentage of recycled content make Stackers an environmental and sustainable choice
• Sustainable • Ease of Installation • Durable • Available as paving, coping & bespoke made items • Calibrated size

Transforming gardens with Grono...

With a Grono garden you can create a stylish, effortless outdoor living space that leaves your clients time to relax and enjoy.

We have all you need to create the modern, practical and low-maintenance garden with our extensive range of premium quality decking, fencing, cladding and garden accessories.

And because our products are made from the most durable materials, they don’t only look incredible, they are also incredibly long lasting and easy to look after.

Request a sample or find your nearest stockist: 0161 877 0929


Autumn doesn’t have to be the time when gardens are put to bed. With a Grono garden, there’ll always be somewhere safe for the kids to play come rain or shine, somewhere comfortable to entertain friends on cooler evenings, as well as somewhere sheltered and slip-free for a workout in the fresh air

AGrono garden is an effortlessly stylish, multifunctional outdoor living space that’s simple to install and leaves the homeowner time to relax and enjoy in all seasons. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re stocking up or decking out.

For busy, style- and ecoconscious property owners, Grono offers easy, affordable solutions that bring indoor comfort, style and colour coordination outside. And no outdoor space is complete without a decked seating area.

The ever-popular Gronodec Premier boards are available in five classic UV-stable colours to complement any domestic or commercial setting. Easy on the eye and tough underfoot, these boards are classy yet affordable for bigger decking projects.

For smaller zones, the extra wide decking boards in the Gronodec Max range help to give the illusion of spaciousness. Made from up to 90% recycled

plastic and hardwood fibres, and available in an on-trend Burnt Shipwreck finish, these boards add a hint of rustic charm.

When storage space is tight but design ideas are overflowing, look no further than Gronodec Duo. Stockists and landscapers can take advantage of this two-tone reversible board that offers twice the colour options for half the shelf room. Mix and match to bring a contemporary flair to a design.

that adds a touch of class to any size and style of garden or commercial space.

Grono is committed to supplying sustainable solutions without compromising on quality. Made of up to 90% recycled plastics and hardwood fibre, these composite products enjoy a longer lifespan than traditional timber, meaning they’re cheaper to maintain and don’t require regular repairs or replacements.

With an extensive range of high-quality composite decking, fencing, cladding and garden accessories, Grono has all you need to create the modern, practical, eye-catching garden that will wow your clients and fly off the shelves.

Grono composite decking products have all the aesthetic appeal of natural timber with none of the high maintenance of real wood. Grono’s durable, weather-resistant and rot-proof composite makes for a practical and appealing decking solution

No more painting, treating or staining to avoid rotting and warping. This non-slip decking is strong and hard-wearing, with UV stabilisers to reduce colour fade over time. The Premier and Max range come with a 25-year warranty, and Gronodec Duo is guaranteed for life. That’s a lot of peace of mind.

There’s expert support from Grono’s dedicated customer service team and the easy-toinstall products are available through a vast network of UK distributors, so a garden transformation is never far away.

Ready to start creating your client’s dream garden? View the full Grono range, find your nearest stockist or order some samples at

Or if you have any questions about Grono products, you can call 0161 877 0929 or email

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 121
Recognising rooftop projects In association with Contact Mark on 01903 777574 or REGISTER YOUR INTEREST Winners presented at 15 November 2023 | NEC Birmingham


Composite decking is proving popular. At least that’s what sales would suggest. The majority (80%) of manufacturers and suppliers who took part in our survey said that their sales of the product had increased in the last year. And it looks like it’s the decking's low maintenance which is winning over customers; 60% said it is the number one reason for clients choosing composite over timber. Other top reasons were its durability and its rot resistance.





No, timber subframes are being purchased instead

Yes, more composite subframes are being purchased

We asked composite decking manufacturers and suppliers for their insight into the composite decking market




With composite decking growing in popularity, composite subframes have been hitting the marketing too, though it’s not quite clear whether these are experiencing the same demand; 20% said more composite subframes are being purchased, 20% said timber subframes are being purchased instead, and 60% were unsure.

YEAR? 0% 10% Stayed the same Increased 20% 30%40% 50%60% 70% 80%90%100% 0% 10% Unsure 20% 30%40% 50%60% 70%
0% 0%10% 10% Both in equal amounts Unsure Domestic All in equal amounts Commercial More than £70k £35k - £70k Less than £35k 20% 20%30% 30%40% 40%50% 50%
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 123 PRODUCTS


Other Slip resistance

Choice of colours Rot resistance



Yes, more clients are asking

No, enquiries have remained the same

No, fewer clients are asking


One of the biggest developments in composite decking over the last five years, according to one respondent, is the "reuse and repurposing of recycled products that would have gone to landfill into composite products" – others included "capped/shell finish to decking to prevent fade and stain", "aesthetics" and "curved or profiled options").

Made from a mixture of wood fibre and plastic, composite decking is largely produced from recycled materials – appropriate, considering 100% of respondents said more clients are asking about the sustainability of composite decking than five years ago.

Price point

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the material price hikes repeatedly hitting headlines over the last few months, the majority said prices have increased over the last year, with one a fifth saying prices had stayed the same.

Checkatrade’s ‘Composite decking vs wood cost guide’1, published earlier this year, found that the average cost for composite decking per m 2 is £70, whereas the average cost for timber decking per m2 is £22.50.

No, the prices have stayed the same

Yes, the prices have decreased

Yes, the prices have increased


0% 10%

References: 1

20% 30%40% 50%60% 70% 80%90%100%
0% 10%
Durability Low
20% 30%40% 50%60% 70% prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022124 PRODUCTS
Storm Voyage decking is unmatched with the industry’s best strength-to-weight ratio. Made from a revolutionary mineral-based composite, it is nearly 35% lighter than traditional composites with virtually no thermal expansion or contraction. 34% greater surface traction than other leading brands Two widths available: 140 x 21 x 3660 mm 235 x 21 x 3660 mm 50-year structural guarantee Maintenance-free and easy to install Stain and fade-resistant cap material Grooved-edge or solid profile Call STORM today on 01278 455326 to order or to find your nearest stockist STOCKED AND SOLD IN THE UK EXCLUSIVELY BY STORM Voyage MBC decking. Superior strength backed by an industry-leading guarantee (01844) 279274 La Roche Limestone Bespoke Paving Wall & Pool Copings Steps & Risers Everything you Need


TREX Trex Enhance®

The Trex Enhance® Basics and Naturals ranges offer the ideal combination of the aesthetic appeal of wood and the benefits of composite, supported by an industryleading 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Size: Available in 3.66m and 4.88m, Composition: Wood polymer composite, Price: From £28 per 3.66mm board

GRONO Gronodec Premier

Grono’s impressive Gronodec Premier range is easy on the eye, kind to the environment and tough underfoot. This composite decking is free from rot, warp and splinters, and withstands all weathers. Size: 25 x 136 x 3660mm, Composition: WPC: 55% recycled wood fibre, 35% recycled plastic, 10% additive Price: POA

LONDON STONE DesignBoard Classic Composite Decking

DesignBoard Classic combines a sleek, contemporary character with a pleasing, organic feel. It has a lightly grooved finish and is available in eight colours. It is rot and splinter resistant. Size: 3600 x 150 x 20mm, Composition: 50% PVC, 50% rice husk fibres, Price: £86.70 (when bought online)


Grad ‘Hidden-fix’

Composite Deck System

With a unique clip system and no visible screws or fixings for seamless finish, this is supplied as components or as a complete system of pedestals, rails and boards. Simple and rapid installation, and a choice of composite and timber decking.

Size: 25 x 120 x 3600mm Composition: Recycled HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) with reclaimed oak Price: From £85 per m2

KEBUR Saige Composite Decking

With an expected lifespan of 20+ years, these durable boards are anti-slip and low maintenance, with 0.8% water absorption. With a choice of reversible grooved/woodgrain or rustic boards, a fire retardant option with installation system is also available.

Size: 3.6m x 143mm x 23mm Composition: Made from approximately 90% recycled materials, a unique combination of wood fibres and plastic from reclaimed or recycled resources which are highly screened prior to manufacture

Price: From approx £68 per m2


ZERODECK is a Class A fire-rated system, certified by NHBC Accepts. It is clean fitting – clip-fix or surface-mount –with a choice of colours. It handles and looks like timber whilst being low maintenance.

Size: 25 x 150 x 2440mm

Composition: Mineral Composite (Fibre Cement)

Price: From £115 per m2 plus rails and pedestals as required

*all prices inclusive of VAT

prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 PRODUCTS 126
©Anna Butterfield/JR Gardens
01252 517571 SERVICE NEXT DAY DELIVERY HERE TO HELP CREATE AMAZING SPACES 2 Lynchford Lane, Farnborough, GU14 6JD 5 mins from M3, J4 Hundreds of natural stone & porcelain options Bespoke sourcing, accessories, lighting & more YOU LOYALTY REWARDS DEDICATED SUPPORT Photo courtesy of TAW Garden Landscapes 150 acre nursery supplying the trade for over 40 years. Nationwide delivery. Advisory services available. • Surrey 01483 429385 London 020 81111 385 Brighton 01273 027327 Southampton 0238 2023881 Cadmap Ltd provide detailed Topographical Land Surveys for award-winning landscape design architects, many who have won Gold medals at RHS Shows and other prestigious awards around the United Kingdom. Cadmap Ltd are experienced at providing detailed Land surveys for landscape design compared to standard Land Survey detailing for housing developments. The company is a full member of The Survey Association, fully insured and holds 5m professional indemnity cover. If you require a Topographical Land Survey please contact us on the below details and Cadmap Ltd will provide a fee proposal free of charge for any size project you require. Landscape Survey Specialists • 01788 823811 FOR ALL YOUR IRRIGATION NEEDS Design and Advice • Irrigation Parts Catalogue 24/7 Online Parts Ordering Creating Inspiring Streetscenes CIS Street Furniture offer a diverse range of street furniture which will complement any location. As a result of the built environment compaction can inhibit or prevent natural root growth of trees. CIS SUDs compliant resin bound tree grilles are a great way of enhancing the sustainability of your project for future generations. Find out more at our website below. Tel: 01483 203388
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Location: London

An exciting opportunity has opened for an assistant horticulturalist to join Cameron Gardens. This hands-on role – where you will work closely with your horticulturalist foreman within a team of two – offers the opportunity to work on top-end gardens. A good basic knowledge of horticulture and experience within the industry is required; a desire to learn and develop is vital. You will need to have excellent attention to detail, enjoy being part of a close-knit team, whilst being able to show initiative.

For more details, please go to



Location: London

Due to continued growth an exciting opportunity has opened for a soft landscaping horticulturalist foreman to join a well-established and dynamic business. This role, supported by an assistant, offers the opportunity to work on top-end gardens within a motivated and talented organisation/company/ group. Good people skills are vital and a full driving licence is a necessity. Candidates will need to be self-motivated with good horticultural knowledge.

For more details, please go to



Location: Surrey

Luxuria Landscapes is currently seeking two junior gardeners/garden assistants to work alongside the team leader on a full-time basis. The role would suit someone who has some experience in a similar role. Some knowledge of gardening techniques and use of machinery would be beneficial. They must have a driving licence and access to their own vehicle to be able to meet with the team leader each morning at the yard.

For more details, please go to



Location: London and Surrey

Landscape Associates is seeking an apprentice gardener/horticulturist to join its established gardening team. Job requirements include communication with your manager, additional work and providing feedback on gardens. The role will involve regular re-planting of window displays, lawn care, plant feeding, staking and weeding of herbaceous border, hedge cutting, general watering and management of irrigation and more.

For more details, please go to



Location: London

This hands-on role – where you will work closely with your hard landscaping foreman within a team of two – offers the opportunity to work on some top-end domestic and commercial gardens. You will need hard landscaping experience; some horticultural knowledge is beneficial; a desire to learn and develop is vital. You will need to be good at communicating and enjoy being part of a close-knit team, whilst being able to show initiative.

For more details, please go to




Location: London

Alfie Bines Gardens is an award-winning garden company based in North London, looking after a variety of commercial and domestic high-end gardens. The company is looking for enthusiastic, motivated individuals who are passionate about horticulture with good commercial awareness and excellent communications skills. The successful applicant will normally be working with one assistant on a regular maintenance round.

For more details, please go to



Location: London and Surrey

Landscape Associates is seeking an experienced gardener/horticulturist to join its established gardening team. It works on beautiful projects, where attention to detail is key. You must have experience and knowledge of working in gardens. In the role, you will be liaising with clients and designers, so a positive attitude and excellent communication skills are vital. Each day you will be in a team of two or three staff members.

For more details, please go to



Location: Sussex

An assistant/trainee gardener is being sought to join Ben MacDonald Gardens. The ideal candidate will work alongside its skilled head gardener to develop horticultural skills, plant and maintain its gardens. The company is based in and around Brighton, Hove and Sussex. Ideally, you will have a clean driving licence or will be learning to drive so that you can get to the many gardens that it maintains. You will need to be enthusiastic with a love of horticulture, an eye for detail and take pleasure in working outdoors.

For more details, please go to

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | November 2022 JOBS 129 For full details on all jobs, please go to Call 01903 777 570 or email with your vacancy.

Five minutes with CLAIRE LOWTHER

Harris Bugg Studio’s new senior designer, Claire Lowther, shares her journey from architecture to garden design

What attracted you to the horticulture industry?

I was drawn in by the combination of creativity, life sciences, technical detail and the connection to nature and people.

I think in terms of being more environmentally aware as I got older it felt like an exciting time to be in the industry. I hope to be able to create positive change around key issues in contemporary life like climate change, resource depletion, food security, health and well being.

Which project are you most excited to be working on?

I'm working on a number of private residential projects in the south-west.

They are all totally unique and it’s been fascinating learning about the sites. Functional things like water management, ecology and soil health but also elements like underground rivers and springs and local folklore.

I love how that can all feed into a design.

How does the industry differ to what you expected?

What struck me was that it is extremely multifaceted.

There are a huge amount of people involved in pulling together a project. One meeting might be about louvre grills, the next medieval tapestry

lawns, the next cost tracking, the next mid century tiles. I love speaking to people about their many differing fields of knowledge.

Who is someone that inspires you in the industry?

I feel inspired by people promoting and teaching traditional practices that help people reconnect with the land.

Whether it's a hedge layer, a dry stone waller, a farm hand, a fisherman, an activist, a baker, a writer...

Some people have a magic way of establishing dialogues with local conditions and histories. It’s inspirational to think about the personal difference they make in protecting the natural world.

What piece of advice would you give to those starting out?

Be curious. Listen and observe as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Dive in deep, find out what inspires and motivates the people you encounter.

It’s all about building positive, meaningful relationships.

What's something you enjoy doing outside of work?

I go swimming in the Hampstead ponds. Being surrounded by the women up there,

the birds, the trees lining the banks. On my last swim there was a kingfisher swooping overhead. It’s just a beautiful experience.

Why did you move from architecture, and what draws you to residential projects? On residential projects, I enjoy getting to know the intricacies of people or places. Good design can help people feel more rooted and settled in their place. It’s hugely rewarding to see gardens and landscapes you’ve worked on looking great and being enjoyed by people.


Harris Bug Studio Tel +44 (0)20 8191 7131


prolandscapermagazine .comPro Landscaper | November 2022 LAST WORD 130
It’s inspirational to think about the personal difference they make in protecting the natural world
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