Earthstyle Spring Summer 2020

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FROM HARVEST TO HOME, YOU’RE IN CONTROL ORDER TURF ONLINE TRACK IN REAL TIME Get your perfect lawn in an instant. Order your turf online at your convenience with the StrathAyr EZY-ORDER system and track the delivery to your site in real time with Smart TrackAyr on your phone. We guarantee our best quality StrathAyr turf, where you need it and when you need it. Visit or call 03 57354122 to order your turf or for helpful, friendly advice. Turf Professional EZY-ORDER Codes are also available for businesses.


table of contents

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining | Megan Flower, Chief Executive Officer, LVML...............4 In Closing | Georgia Harper, Outgoing President, LVML....................................................5 Years of Membership Recipients...........................................................................................6 Being Grateful & Giving Back | Andrew Grasby, SuperGardens.........................................7 Awards Retrospective............................................................................................................8

Cover Page & Winner of the Earthstyle Cover Page Competition: Phillip Johnson Landscapes

Our COVID challenge | David Thomson, StrathAyr........................................................... 19 The value of trust | Warners Nurseries................................................................................. 21

Earthstyle is published twice a year. For all advertising and editorial enquiries contact the editor.

Create a perfectly lit outdoor space this summer | Gardens at Night ...............................23

Publisher: Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers Sector Offices, Suite 7, Level 3 2 Brandon Park Drive Wheelers Hill VIC 3150 t 03 9566 7284 e Editor: Megan Flower Design: Pufferfish Marketing Photography: Members own images unless stated

Smart technologies for tough times | Smart Water.............................................................25

Earthstyle Š 2020. The material contained in this publication is general comment and is not intended as advice on any particular matter. No reader should act on the basis of any article. Readers should consult professional advisors. All care is taken in the preparation of the publication but no responsibility is accepted by Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers for the accuracy of the published information.

Keeping my promise | Don Thomson...................................................................................33

Supplier site and client visits a two way street | Sure Gro....................................................27 Closing the gate: Life lessons from Martin Semken.............................................................29 Wow your clients with the latest new plants | Greg Carrick, Garden City Plastics............. 30

The move to online events....................................................................................................34 How to sell on value rather than price | John Corban, Landscapers Coach.......................39 Review of Landscape Packages.......................................................................................... 40 Returning to work - COVID style..........................................................................................43


Bayon Gardens

Bayon Gardens

Congratulations to Phillip Johnson Landscapes, the winner of this edition's Front Cover Competition! Don't you just love the burst of colour in the winning entry? It made the perfect cover image. Thank you to everyone who submitted their images. Here are some of the runner-up entries.

Scott Bateson - Blue Stone Landscapes

Bayon Gardens

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Front Cover



Every cloud has a silver lining... They say every cloud has a silver lining. This financial year threw a very long list of challenges at all Victorians and it would be very easy to focus on the negative aspects we have all had to endure. But it’s also incredibly important to focus on the positive achievements made by LVML this year, some as a result of the pandemic, and others as we continue to grow and work on what is best for our members and the industry as a whole. Heading into the new Financial Year back in July 2019 we were basking in the success of our second trade event, The Landscape Show, held just days earlier as we switched focus to preparing for the first Backyard & Garden Show with our colleagues at SPASA Victoria. The Victorian Landscape Awards for 2019 were held for the first time at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre which delivered a very professional and slick event, elevating the standard yet again.

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In quick succession into the start of 2020 came our Peninsula Nursery Tour, the SPASA Summer Show and another hugely popular Member Golf Day. And then, just 12 days before it was due to open for its 25th Anniversary celebration, MIFGS was cancelled and all events came to a grinding halt… …but with creativity, agility and a ‘never give in’ attitude, we were able to deliver The Landscape Show as an online event with a range of generous offers from our Exhibitors and turn our regular Industry Nights and Workshops into Webinars. Discussing Pool Regs, talking about Mental Health issues and having a virtual catch up with BYO beers in our Beer Garden and Back Shed, we have stayed connected to each other in the most trying of circumstances.

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We approached the end of the Financial Year with some trepidation – how would the impacts of Covid flow onto Members and what would that mean for the future health of the Association? I must at this point give the biggest thanks on behalf of ALL Members to our Partners for continuing to back us in what has been popularly described as ‘unprecedented times’. They had no hesitation in supporting us at such a critical moment, as did every Member who showed their support by paying their annual subscription in record time. It was heartening to both the Board and Executive staff that everyone supported the Association in this way, and it has set the tone for a very positive 2020-21.

"The passion of the people in this industry never fails to amaze me and LVML has certainly seen, and benefitted from, the camaraderie and knowledge of so many in recent times." But although we got to June 30 with a sense of achievement and accomplishment despite the gloom of the pandemic, it would be remiss not to mention the first quarter of 20-21 as it is inextricably linked to the previous few months and continues to paint a picture of positivity for the future of the Association. Taking on that ‘silver-lining’ attitude, announcements of Stage 3 and 4 restrictions in Victoria (oppressive as they were) became an opportunity for us to communicate details of those work limitations with non-members as well as our Members.

As a result we have experienced a huge spike in social media engagement, and processed more applications and membership approvals in mere months than we have in previous annual periods. Another positive aspect to be recognised is that by being forced into virtual events we were able to welcome Members from all over the state, as well as develop a valuable library of recorded resources for all Members to access at a time to suit them. The benefits experienced, as well as the knowledge learned from moving events online will continue to play a very important role in the development of future Association activities. As we look to the future, strategic planning being undertaken by the Board will deliver goals and outcomes that will further underpin our growth, and campaigning and advocacy work - necessary during the crisis - has brought attention to who we are as an Association. It has opened doors that we will need to go through for future projects which is exciting. Signing off with some well-deserved thanks, I’d like to thank Georgia Harper for her enthusiasm and dedication to continually improving Member Services over the last 3 years in her tenure as President as well as her support, both professional and personal, to me in my role. I would also like to thank all Board Members for their amazing efforts and dedication to the task at hand in trying times when they not only had their own family and businesses to look after but also held responsibility for the welfare of Landscaping Victoria. The passion of the people in this industry never fails to amaze me and LVML has certainly seen, and benefitted from, the camaraderie and knowledge of so many in recent times.



In closing...

As we all know, from March this year we saw a dramatic set of circumstances unfold. From day one, the Board has been on the front foot in supporting our Executive team in what can only be described as highly stressful and dynamic circumstances. Many, many hours were spent finding ways to deal with the avalanche of information and changing circumstances the initial weeks of Covid 19 wrought; no small feat when you consider that those same Board members were also trying to deal with their own business issues at the same time. I am so proud that every member of the Board pulled together and put in the hours needed to ensure that LVML could survive and most importantly, to become an even more valuable resource and ally for our Members. As a result of these efforts, we have developed a very different set of ways to better engage with our membership, including the Virtual Beer Garden and The Back Shed Zoom events designed to keep people in touch, engaged and up-to-date about issues affecting our industry. Many of these ideas will continue on past Covid; we are excited to embrace the technology that can help everyone get more out of their membership, and especially our regional members who find it difficult to get to every event.

At the height of the Victorian lockdown we spent time aggressively lobbying the State government to promote our members' interests and were successful in obtaining coverage on most major channels, including the ABC. Heading into a Covid-normal environment now, we have even more planned for the coming year. We are keen to build on the new alliances we've been able to make during Covid restrictions, and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our members get the representation they deserve. At the same time, we acknowledge that there is still a way to go to get back to 'normal', and so we'll be continuing to do our virtual events, and we're currently putting some polish on new and exciting developments as well; these include our new podcast series, re-launch of DesignLAB, launch of BuildLAB, and much more - watch this space!

"On a personal note: my tenure as President is officially at a close and while it's been a crazy ride, I've enjoyed every moment of it."

On a personal note: my tenure as President is officially at a close and while it's been a crazy ride, I've enjoyed every moment of it. I have been very lucky to have a fantastic Board behind me, and I'd like to especially thank Megan, Colleen, Victoria and Jo for their hard work and support.

During my Presidency we have relaunched LV as Master Landscapers; started The Landscape Show; partnered with SPASA with the Backyard and Garden Show, launched DesignLAB and achieved so much more.

"My one wish is that you'll return the favour and attend everything you can, in person or virtually. Participate and make your opinions known..."

In these competitive times, everything we do is designed to put you - our Members and Sponsors - at the top of the shopping list for every customer, and to assist you in any way we can to build a solid foundation for your business so that you can thrive. My one wish is that you'll return the favour and attend everything you can, in person or virtually. Participate and make your opinions known, and promote our industry by being the fantastic professionals you are. The more you put in, the more you'll get out of it - our goal is to continue to grow and become a stronger association, and that can only be great for everyone. Thank you so much for the honour of being a part of it.

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This year has been a huge challenge for Landscaping Victoria ‘Master Landscapers’ and our members. For the Association, we have had to pivot from our usual, busy calendar of events into a leaner, meaner and more flexible entity - as have most of us across the industry.


years of membership Years of Membership

Congratulations to the following members on their years of membership with Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers:

45 years

35 years

Australian Native Landscapes

MJLC Landscape Speciality Trees

30 years

25 years

Warrandale Industries

Winstanley Landscapes Warrina Landscaping

20 years Coolabah Landscapes & Pools

DJ Landscapes & Pools

Kiama Landscapes & Paving

Gardens at Night

Semken Landscaping

Ian Evans Creative Landscapes

15 years Jane Jones Landscapes

Fernery and Garden Design

Ros McCully Garden Design

GLG - Green Life Group

Planned Constructions

Asco Landscapes

Goldfish Pools & Landscapes

MPF Garden Company

Boyle Landscape

Wes McIntosh Landscapes

Ashtown Landscapes and Pools

Melpro Building

Luke Bullock Landscape Construction

Ian Kelly Landscape Contractor

Brad Andrews Landscaping

TGA Australia

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10 years Parterre Landscapes

The Landscape Company

Blue Stone Landscape Construction & Design

Premier Pavements & Landscapes

Flawless Landscaping & Design

Vivid Landscapes

Signature Landscapes

Birch Landscapes

Rocks Plus

Pavers Plus

Martin Kellock Pots and Planters

Urbangreen Projects

Premier Pavers & Stone

ULS Group

John French Landscape Design


Landscape Lifestyle

Neale Edwards Garden Design

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grateful Being Grateful & Giving Back

Meet Landscaping Victoria's next President, Andrew Grasby. From his beginnings with the Victorian Police Force, to running SuperGardens for 31 years, Andrew has turned his attention to a larger focus on community, corporate social justice initiatives and giving back to the “Industry that has been extremely good” to him.

Community and Charity Work When you talk to Andrew, the concept of being grateful and being able to ‘give back’ is a key driver. He balances running a successful business with a number of other community, and industry-focused initiatives, not least of which is his work as the new LVML President! Andrew also sits on the Board of a Foundation named No Roads Expeditions (NREF). The idea for the Foundation originated after likeminded people walked the Kokoda Track. He explains, “It was life-changing. I became so grateful for the world that we live in and the opportunities presented to us”. Keen to relive and share his previous experience, Andrew returned to Kokoda in 2010 as a Certified Guide with his family. Since then, together with his wife Sue who is a Nurse, they have taken dozens of trips guiding committed volunteers to deliver Health Services into remote areas in Papua New Guinea. This venture has now expanded to Myanmar. He states, “In essence, we are a specialist Health Service charity delivering services to remote regions. We've reached out to over 34,000 people and serviced 270 square kilometers of remote jungle, delivering Health Services supporting a number of other Charities”.

Andrew is also very proud of his work with the Chin State Burmese community in Victoria. In 2016 Andrew was introduced to a resettled Chin State community leader. They made an instant connection resulting in Andrew wanting to help “these beautiful, honest and hard-working people”. He saw an opportunity to assist this resettled Burmese refugee community in Victoria by transferring their rural agricultural skills into Horticulture. Adopted as a Mentor for the Community, Andrew championed their business through SuperGardens by engaging this company on a Labour Hire basis. SuperGardens support this community with Apprenticeships in Landscape Construction, and Parks & Gardens. SuperGardens commitment also extended toward translating documents such as inductions, equipment handling procedures and safe work statements into Haka Chin, their native language. Andrew’s recent appointment as President of the Board at LVML comes after his third year as a Board member. He was nominated and accepted the position of Vice President in his second year, with an agreed plan to transition to the Presidency in the following year. Andrew stated that his motivation in joining LVML was “to give something back to the Industry, as it’s been very good to me. I have a set of skills that I think I can contribute at Board level.” He has some very clear ideas around facilitating improvements to processes around registration and regulations for landscaping. He explains: “More people are investing into their structural landscape treatments, however the regulations and registration requirements around this have not kept pace with what's going on in the community. The Victorian Building Authority are under resourced to go out and regulate the registration requirements to the detriment of registered members. It's an unlevel playing field at the moment”.

He observes that “There are not many barriers to entry into the residential Landscaping space, but there are regulations and registration requirements for people who provide that service. These regulations need to be reviewed, improved, and enforced “. He states that “as an Association we need to set a level playing field for our Members to grow and sustain themselves long term without unfair, unregulated competition in the market. Hopefully, this will be a positive legacy of LVML over the next few years. I think if we get the full support of all our members with a revised and improved vision and strategy, it would be a very good thing". “Seize the Day” - from COVID comes opportunity. Andrew recalls what happened when the pandemic first hit: “When the crisis hit, everybody naturally, was in a state of fear, uncertainty and shock. We had never received as many inquiries from people reaching out to LVML for help. When everything is going well, everybody gets on with business. When it's not going so well, you actually need advice and guidance to navigate your way through it. That’s what LVML is for. We also provided guidance for non-members, which has encouraged several businesses to join and be part of the Association for everybody’s benefit. We are planning for a further increase in our membership through 2021. Andrew concludes: "We are fortunate to have dedicated Directors and a really experienced and professional Executive team. It is a genuine pleasure to work for LVML because our team is engaged. Our executive team are not only really good people, they are also passionate about what they do. They have come through the crisis with an A+."

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Andrew’s journey with SuperGardens started after he and one of his police partners decided to become full-time gardeners after their side business of mowing residential lawns quickly expanded. They used their Superannuation from the Police force to start their company, “SuperGardens”. The business gradually evolved from residential lawn mowing to commercial landscaping and maintenance. SuperGardens now employ close to 200 full-time people from diverse backgrounds, providing services to Airports, Universities, Private Schools, Hospitals, greenfield estates, Councils and the like.

retrospective MEGAN FLOWER | LVML

Awards - a retrospective look over the years In the emerging pandemic, it was agreed by the Board at the March 2020 meeting that COVID restrictions would hinder this year’s Awards program and our members hard work and achievements couldn't be given the celebration they rightly deserve. On-site judging is also a unique point of difference compared with other industry awards, so with uncertainty surrounding our judges’ ability to enter and physically inspect properties, it was felt the integrity of the Awards program would be compromised and this was not an option the Board could accept. As such, the difficult decision was made not to proceed with the 2020 LVML Victorian Industry Awards.

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Usually, this edition of Earthstyle would feature the Awards in all their glory – the winners, the commendations, and of course the celebration. Instead, we now bring you a retrospective of the Awards throughout the decades! So sit back and enjoy the ride as we step back in time and look at some of the highlights, and possibly lowlights, of the Victorian Landscape Awards. The Awards started in the late 80’s as a result of some Members seeing that other states held these programs. A letter to the then-President, Max Thomas, from John Van de Linde and others outlined the benefits that could be generated from the publicity – essentially a platform to promote the industry and its professionalism, as well as promotion of the individual contractors. Max of course said yes, and the rest is history.

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The VENUES From the lofty heights of Argenti’s Receptions in Balwyn North and the Elizabethan Lodge in Box Hill to the Forum, the National Gallery, Crown Palladium, Hyatt, Sofitel and the MCEC, we’ve seen the Awards hosted at a variety of venues across Melbourne. The 25th Anniversary of the Association was celebrated at Ripponlea and the 50th at Pullman on the Park. In the early years it was about what funds were available and how many people might come. Nothing much has changed in that regard! It is still a detailed spreadsheet that underpins decisions: income vs expenditure and what can be done to deliver the best possible event. Sophistication and technology have been far more prevalent in recent years with larger attendances and thankfully we have been able to move on from wall banners, balloons and pull up screens!






The FASHION It was 1991. Let's just say that like landscaping trends, fashion trends change....



And every year, across every decade, it seems that the definition of Black Tie is never quite understood. From acid wash jeans in the 80’s to plain old denim in 2018 (and whatever shirt was on the floor), some people just don’t get it.

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retrospective The TRENDS Let's take a stroll down 'History Lane'.... segmental paving, dry stonework, in-situ concrete, minimalist designs, lush plantings and an abundance of Iceberg Roses …the Awards have reflected trends in landscaping and gardening across the decades.



2013 2000

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The AWARDS Everyone wants one, but not everyone can have one. The prestige of winning an Award not only boosts your business capacity but looks pretty good in the office and makes for some great photos on the night. (With thanks to LUMP for many years of provisioning LV with our designer trophies)


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retrospective The SPONSORS Arguably the most important people without whose support these fabulous nights just wouldn’t happen. From annual Partners through to those who specifically support the Awards, to every business who has provided financial support or products in kind, our deepest gratitude and thanks once again.

The JUDGES Judging is a serious business and not too many people get to see behind the scenes. So even though there are only a few images to share, there is a small army of people to thank for their contribution over the years to making our Awards program so successful. To all the Judges – you know who you are - in addition to the thanks you received in the year you helped, take some more! We couldn’t have done it without you. And an extra special thanks to our Head Judges who assist with the coordination of this mammoth task, wrangling up to 35 judges per year, collating results and ensuring the integrity of the program.

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Over the years this task has been capably carried out by Peter Curson, Stewart Detez, Don Thompson, Steve Taylor and Anthony Scott.

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MC's have included John Patrick, Steve Moneghetti, Tim Shaw the Salesman, Sam Kekovich, and the lovely Max Walker who so generously let anyone who wanted to, try on his baggie green. We laughed ourselves silly with Lawrence Mooney and were stunned just a year later at how badly Lehmo tanked. That's showbiz! A number of Members have taken the mic for their 15 minutes of fame too, such as Bruce Winstanley, and many a President has stepped into the MC role like John Van der Linde circa 1991.





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According to the record books, to entertain guests on arrival or throughout the night, there have been string quartets, DJ's, bands and even ‘Crazy Peter the Magician’ (danggit for missing that one!)



The sheer FUN of it all! What more can we say?! It's just a really good night and much work is being done behind the scenes to ensure that our Awards Program will be delivered in 2021.

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We can’t wait for you to be a part of it, celebrating and acknowledging the achievements of individuals, and of the industry!


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The LVML Victorian Industry Awards will be back in 2021 where we will continue to shine a light on the fantastic work our Members deliver.



FUN, 2012 STYLE! Check out the "4 men in a Limo" blooper reel if you've never seen it!

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Get the leading edge call...

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FormBoss® is proudly handcrafted in Australia using BlueScope steel and is stronger than aluminium and traditional edging materials. The rolled top lip is exclusive to all FormBoss® edging, making it completely safe for children and pets.

Straight lines, flawless curves and intricate shapes with layered terracing can be created with ease! FormBoss® will not crack, split, rot, dint, burn or invite termites and is structurally guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years. Award winning FormBoss® is precision made and engineered to create virtually seamless lines and joins. Custom made designer edging, rings and raised garden beds make the perfect compliment for domestic and commercial projects of any size.



Our COVID Challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic was in its very early stages in March, we staged a mock emergency event to test our lock-down systems and processes. Our office was vacated and our cloud-based systems enabled our entire operation to be managed and administered by staff working from home. Little did we know that six months later all our office staff would still be working from home as the coronavirus threat continued in the Victorian community.

With state borders closed, our interstate sporting projects were abruptly suspended and this has created tremendous challenges for our business. At our Victorian farm in Seymour, we decided to further expand and improve our operations, utilising the precious time we envisaged would emerge from the anticipated slow-down in market activity.

Our historic large-scale farm on the banks of the Goulburn River has achieved the milestone of 1,000,000 metres of natural turf in various stages of growth, with 70% of our irrigation now fully automated and controlled by smart phone technology. The largest undertaking StrathAyr has taken during the COVID period is to embark on ISO Certification for quality, safety and environmental management. The team embraced the processes which scrutinised our business practices, and we are working through the major and minor changes required to ensure that StrathAyr continue a leadership position in our industry. To get through the pandemic challenges, we have had to embrace that we are doing the COVID Dance whereby we take two steps forward, one step back ‌ with a few spins and twirls in the middle.

"...we have had to embrace that we are doing the COVID Dance whereby we take two steps forward, one step back ... with a few spins and twirls in the middle."

All businesses and individuals react and cope in different ways to change and pressure and StrathAyr are immensely proud of our team who have remained connected and continue to demonstrate great resilience and professionalism. StrathAyr thank our loyal customers and business associates for their tremendous support.

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Our 2020 New Year started with a great optimistic outlook as StrathAyr, a 50 year old specialist turf business, had just completed a major $12m horse race track project and we were readying ourselves to commence new major sporting projects across Australia. At the local level in Victoria, we were experiencing solid growth following significant multi-year investments in cutting-edge technology to improve efficiency and productivity.



The value of trust

The Value of Trust

In our industry, the capacity to have information at your fingertips, and the reliance on visual platforms to communicate stock availability, has highlighted the importance of providing quality images when unable to experience the ‘real thing’. While Warners have had a strong online presence and platforms such as Flickr and Instagram for years, our customers have now become reliant on them. Our Garden Centres, desperate for stock, are now embracing the technology and are trusting us to provide them with the most up-to-date images. Importantly the ‘one-off’ images need to be representative of a batch.

"...At Warners we ensure that there are no surprises and that the stock that gets wheeled off the back of the Warners truck is of the same quality as the stock shown in the images we post online."

At Warners we ensure that there are no surprises and that the stock that gets wheeled off the back of the Warners truck is of the same quality as the stock shown in the images we post online. Our industries adoption of new technologies is indicative of how we need to react when confronted with challenges. We have needed to analyse how and why we do things and make decisions as to how to best navigate our way forward. We can be most proud of our resilience and capacity to adapt and evolve when responding to events that are beyond our control. The way we have all worked together within our businesses and with our suppliers and customers speaks volumes about the trust we have developed in our working relationships.

Adversity can test us, but it also helps us recognise what is of most value to us and compels us to seize opportunities we would not have otherwise taken the time to pursue.


"Trust is one of the cornerstones of success." Trust is one of the cornerstones of success. Having now adjusted to a different way of conducting our business in response to the uncertainties we are faced with, it seems we are heading into a new era. The rise of the ‘Stay at Home’ economy provides many opportunities for the horticultural and landscape industry. With virtually no overseas travel and restricted domestic travel, more people are staying at home and looking at transforming their yards to create a retreat to enjoy. This is reflected in retail sales for entertainment and the increased investment into home improvements and domestic gardens. More people are recognising the health benefits of having plants around them, especially in their gardens, as they provide comfort in uncertain times.


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The last few months have emphasised the importance of relationships. We have had to rethink how we communicate, interact, and stay in touch with each other. We have learnt and experienced the importance of checking in with others to see how they are. In such a short time, the way we communicate has changed dramatically and when compelled to, we were quick were to adopt platforms that were previously so foreign to us. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets; all have become a part of our daily lives.


Shining light on Australia’s most beautiful landscapes

Path Lights

Accent Lights

Hanging Lights

Linear Lights

Gardens at Night are specialists in the design and manufacture of quality and energy efficient outdoor lighting. Designed for Australian conditions our range of fittings offer a complete solution for every outdoor space. The high quality and durability of our light fittings means minimal maintenance for a lifetime of use. For inspiration on our comprehensive range of outdoor lighting and to find your local Gardens at Night showroom or distributor visit our website

1. Landscape Designer | Ian Barker Gardens, Photo | Erik Holt

Create a perfectly lit perfectly lit outdoor space this Summer 2. Landscape Designer | Renata Fairhall Garden Designs, Landscaper | Adam Hompas Landscapes

GARDENS AT NIGHT As the warmer weather approaches and we enjoy extended evenings outdoors; a considered lighting plan will help provide a seamless connection between your indoor and outdoor space. Incorporating simple lighting techniques with the correct selection of light fittings will help achieve a balance between safety and practicality; whilst delivering an outdoor space that exudes style. Consider how your space will be used during the day and night. Walking around your garden, make a note of any changes in levels you’ll need to light for safety. Is your barbeque bench area separate to your outdoor dining? Knowing the angle your light needs to be directed and the distance from the object or feature is an important consideration. After you have identified the different zones and how you will use them, it is important to also keep in mind where will your lights be powered from.

3. Landscape Designer | Adam Robinson Design, Photo | Natalie Hunfalvay

Here are a few lighting examples and inspiration to help you get your outdoor living and entertaining space ready for Summer.

Lighting can enhance the connection between interior and exterior and make your garden an extension of your home at night.

Before you fire up your barbeque ask yourself if your work station has adequate lighting for you to create a culinary feast. Solutions include overhead lights, wall lighting and surface mounted lights to help create the right amount of illumination. The use of lights that can be angled will also help you direct your light to the desired position. Create a soft atmosphere for your alfresco and dining area by selecting glare free lighting. Also make note of the elevation of your pergola or alfresco area and consider how your guests will move around so your lights are installed at optimal height.

Defining the perimeters of your outdoor space is also used as a technique to highlight and enhance features from interior to exterior. Using accent lighting to define boundaries can help to create outdoor ‘rooms’ and depth. Low level lighting under benches and steps can also soften edging or define a curved bench seat. Lighting can enhance the connection between different zones in your outdoor space and help the transition between day to night. As the sun sets, your garden will come to life and help to create an extension of your home you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.

5. Landscape Designer | Ian Barker Gardens, Photo | Erik Holt

- Sarah Liacos, Gardens at Night 6. Photo | Peter Casamento

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Lighting the changes in levels on decking or steps from a patio into your garden can be achieved with Step Lighting and Path lighting. (see images 1 and 2)

4. Landscape Design & Construction | Greener Visions Landscapes

PROFESSIONAL WATER PRODUCTS FOR SMART WATER PROFESSIONALS Why Trade customers like using Smart Water Shop… For irrigation and water efficient products Experienced and Friendly Staff with Technical Support Professional Product Range from the Leading Brands Genuine and Competitive Trade Pricing CAD Irrigation Design Services Installations and Maintenance Service On-Site Deliveries and Contactless Collection



Hoppers Crossing

Image supplied online by Rain Bird

smart tech Smart Technologies for Tough Times

What have we learnt during the Stage 4 Lockdown?

Some features of these Smart Irrigation Systems include:

Remote access to important information has never been more important.

• Receiving input from Remote Operators, Flow Meters, Weather Stations, and Rain and Moisture Sensors • Adjusting water scheduling automatically based on information received • Reporting on operations and providing realtime notifications of flow • Providing remote fault finding in flow or electrical operations

The Irrigation industry, whilst slow to get started, is now right up there with technologies that are super smart and work harmoniously with nature. During an irrigation season, up to 40% of total household water consumption can go directly to the landscape. Smartbased technologies are the only sensible way forward! By integrating smart technology and equipment into an irrigation system we can not only save water, money and time, but be confident we are applying the right amount of water at the appropriate frequency, allowing the landscape every opportunity to prosper.

Targeted irrigation that is measured and mindful is the only way to ensure we can prevent wasting our precious resources while still ensuring our landscapes will remain healthy and hydrated for years to come. In a world where internet-based technologies and automated systems are being continuously introduced and improved, we must ensure the systems that keep our outdoor spaces up to date to remain as efficient and beneficial as possible.

These features make modern Smart Controllers ideal for any landscape – big or small – as they can be customised to care for different zones, plants and social spaces within the same area without sacrificing water and energy efficiency, or affecting plant performance. These ground-breaking irrigation technologies have also opened up a whole new world of remote operation, problem-solving and maintenance for service crews. Where an irrigation installer would once have to personally attend a client’s property to conduct trouble shooting or make adjustments to scheduling, Smart Irrigation allows professionals to make the necessary adjustments from anywhere in the world – streamlining the delivery of service for the customer and service crew alike. Image supplied online by Hunter Industries

"Targeted irrigation that is measured and mindful is the only way to ensure we can prevent wasting our precious resources while still ensuring our landscapes will remain healthy and hydrated for years to come." Image supplied online by Hunter Industries

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Life has been revolutionised by advancements in technologies that allow us to communicate all kinds of information, from anywhere to anywhere else. These ‘Smart Technologies’ feature great modern design that allows for multiple communication modes and almost infinite functionality, thanks to their ability to connect to and communicate via the internet. These Smarts apply not only to indoor environments, but are also designed for use in the outdoors. This includes access to water, energy, security, and operations.


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Supplier Site and Client Visits a Two-Way Street


Customers are always more willing to provide feedback on product performance, delivery, packaging, etc. in a face to face conversation; this type of information is gold for a salesperson and adds value to the relationship.

So why would a vendor’s representative invest the time and financial expense in travelling to a customer’s work location, which could be anything from a 10-minute drive to a flight interstate or to another country? There are many reasons, however the fundamentals are the same, no matter the distance or time taken.

So why would a client take time out of their day to entertain yet another salesperson? If the salesperson is not fully versed on their product, then a client should not waste their valuable time. However, if the salesperson is the expert when it comes to the product, the client will receive valuable, personalised information which can provide project guidance, and hopefully save the client time, if only for surety that the application and installation of the product is in accordance with the suppliers' recommendations. The client should expect that when a salesperson leaves a meeting, they feel they have benefitted from the meeting.

From a supplier's perspective, meeting with real people is always inspiring.

Whether introducing yourself to a client for the first time or going back to see a regular client, there will always be things to learn and to motivate. A salesperson can realise a huge sense of achievement by witnessing their product in use and functioning to its full extent. There is also an educational aspect in witnessing the work involved in the installation of any products.

Understanding our clients' needs, solving any product questions they may have and providing excellent services is what is expected.

We understand that all sites are different and client specific requirements are varied, so for this reason it is beneficial for the client to meet with us, preferably prior to a project commencing, so we can offer them the best solution. We look forward to reconnecting and meeting with our clients once the current lockdown is over.

Suregro Treemax’s philosophy is to fully train our sales staff in all the products in their individual sectors and to spend a large amount of their working week meeting with clients.

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The investment put into a client visit, whether in the client’s office or on a project site, is both a time investment and a financial investment by all parties and demands a beneficial result for everyone involved.

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Closing the gate

Closing the Gate:

Life lessons from Martin Semken. Earlier this year we were thrilled to host a webinar featuring Martin Semken from Semken Landscapes, with the very able and equally delightful Ian Barker of Ian Barker Gardens as our quizmaster. Trying to condense an hour of quality advice and guidance into an article has been difficult, but here’s our list of Martin’s life lessons taken from the questions and answers about his 34 years in the Landscaping Industry. #4: Process, process, process!

When I started, the best way to create a culture in business was to work harder than anyone else. I don’t believe that anymore. The theory of ‘pull your finger out and work hard’ is fine, but it doesn’t create a great culture. A business like ours is made up of so many different people. It's important to have a balance - not just work / life, but a balance for all the different human beings that work inside your business.

If I started a business again tomorrow, the first thing I would do is give that job a job number. I would use that job number to create the process and follow that through on every job. Every job would have a number and a name. I would develop process over everything. Process makes jobs run better, helps you be on time and enables you to give true answers because you know what stage the job is at. It’s the greatest way to help develop a young business.

I try to know a little bit about everyone at Semken Landscapes; their birthday, what ages their kids are, what clubs they belong to, what restaurants they like; what’s important to them. Without being interfering, I’m genuinely interested. It also helps me know what they may need. A 21-year old’s needs are very different to a 35-year old who is married with a mortgage and 2 kids. Of my 65 staff, 20 are on a flexible work arrangement. It’s about recognising every staff member as an individual. #2: Employ people with a passion for life. The attribute I am looking for is passion for life. Sometimes an apprentice doesn’t know what that is but mum and dad can help remind them. We are looking for family values. I love people that are involved in clubs of any sort as this shows that they can do things with other people and work as part of a team. We can mould and help them learn how to do things, but they must have passion first! #3: Support staff in paving their own path. I want people to succeed in this business. On the weekend, any staff member can borrow any tool, any time, to do ‘cashies’. Do I want them to learn how to quote, run a business, become Members of LVML? Yes. There are so many splinter companies that have formed from us, and I couldn’t be prouder of those companies today, and continue to be. I work in a mentor role for anyone that wants to ask me.

#5: Don’t postpone what you can do now. At the end of the day, I drive out the gate, and I close the gate every night. When I have closed the gate, I have completed everything I needed to do today. That’s really important.

"The ability to close the gate means that I haven't let anyone down today, I've done everything I can, I've tried my hardest. I don't owe any money. I'll put my head on the pillow, and I'll fall asleep." A key example of this philosophy is that on a Wednesday, Mandy pays every single bill we have. We don’t owe anyone any money by Wednesday night. We get it done. Mandy once received a letter from a staffer who had moved on saying, “I want to thank you, Mandy, for paying me on time, every time”. He was talking about wages. There are 7000 landscape businesses in Victoria – he has worked for a few, and clearly that’s not what everyone does. Take a lesson from that. Pay your wages on time, every time.

The ability to close the gate means that I haven’t let anyone down today, I’ve done everything I can, I’ve tried my hardest. I don’t owe any money. I’ll put my head on the pillow, and I’ll fall asleep. #6: If you get it wrong, own up and fix it. 24 years ago, we built a wall with a little tiny footing. We didn’t know any better. 20 years later the client rang me and said, “you didn’t build it right”. So, we went and rebuilt it, 20 years later. He was right, we didn’t do it right and we went and fixed it. It’s fine. It’s another great lesson. #7: Don’t try to do and be everything. You have to be willing to not think that your hands and eyes are the best. I call it splitting the atom. I always planned to grow, so as soon as I thought there was room for someone else to do a job, I would get someone to do it. Guys or girls that think they are the only ones in their business that can do a particular job, then that’s their business finished in size and succession. I have young guys and girls that are fantastic plants people, others that are fantastic pavers. Let them be that. I am pretty good at running a business - I’ll do that, and I’ll pass that info onto others and they will learn how to do that.

The things we all should do is think about how lucky we really are. COVID has been a great opportunity to get to know your family better. To get to go for a walk, to love them all. It’s a great opportunity. Every night, close the gate, stay home with your family. Be home with your family. I love Semken Landscaping. I love this industry. It’s the world’s most popular hobby, and we all get to do it as a job. My hobby is this. I have no intention of walking away. I’ll be here for a few years yet.

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#1: Treat everyone as an individual.


Wow Your Clients With the Latest New Plants Want to know how to WOW your clients? Have the perfect shaped plant in every position in your design? Keep up to date with the latest releases that suit the Landscape market for fantastic results giving a great return on investment for both you and your clients. New Plant Releases drive a huge part of the horticultural market opening up numerous options and ensuring you have the right plant in the right position in your design. They are not just new, they are mostly improved selections or breeding from older varieties that have other benefits to make them more attractive or useful in the landscape. Here we have put together a selection of recent plant releases that are selected due to their potential use in the landscape market. Not only 'use' really, it's more to do with performance and other benefits such as improved shape, range of planting options and possibly hardier plants than the previous release of that species.

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What we are looking for are plants that will make your clients happy and give you the confidence with some new varieties that will perform as expected so everyone is happy with the end result. Plant Breeding is now an art form that many know nothing about. Plants that are cross pollinated then chosen from batches for their relevant benefits of foliage, flower or growth habit, can take years to turn into a new variety. These are often bred with the end result in mind, resulting in a more purposeful plant for your new gardens or renovations. Funny enough, a great Australian plant named Brachyscome, which is a low growing Australian native daisy with a blue flower, is mostly bred overseas than in Australia. Just shows you how the European market approaches this issue too.


In this article we have spoken to key growers and breeders who have given us a small but interesting list of some of the most exciting new plant releases of recent times. They are aimed specifically for the landscape arena and will give great value for money when planted. We have Plants Management Australia (PMA) who are the people who deal with various breeders and bring their plants to the market and help promote the benefits to a wider audience. Ball Australia are one of Australia’s largest growers of flowering plants for a wide range of purposes. From supplying cut flower growers, to vegetable farms and every seedling growing nursery in the country. Last, but not least we have some recent releases from Flemings Nurseries who, as you would all know, are the largest grower of Ornamental and Fruiting trees in the country and one of the great innovators in the Australian Nursery Industry.


Botanical: Salvia guaranitica

Botanical: Nandina domestica alba

Botanical: Euphorbia x martinii

Salvia Purple and Bloom, an outstanding new release, is free flowering with a generous number of black spires bursting with purple blooms from spring to autumn. The royal purple florets open from dark, almost black calyxes above the foliage. Salvia ‘Purple and Bloom’ is a great choice for gardens or containers. These rugged plants require little and do so much.

Looking for easy care, low maintenance and high impact foliage? This stunning evergreen plant has it. With lush lime green foliage year-round which gives you a contemporary look year-round with minimal maintenance. The new foliage creates an explosion of lemon tones fading to lime green as they age. The compact habit means there is no pruning required to maintain the neat natural shape.

This hardy shrub was selected for its distinctive foliage which changes with the seasons. The foliage displays tones of cream, green and blue merging to stunning red and pink colouring throughout the cooler months of the year. Spikes of flowers in a blend of cream, lime and green appear from late winter through spring.

Characteristics: Pollinator plant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance

Characteristics: compact, evergreen form with a tight habit, extremely versatile and tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, frost tolerant

Available now at Tavistock Nursery / Plantmark

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Available now at your local wholesaler, see the support centre:

Characteristics: distinct foliage that changes with the seasons, year-round foliage interest, as tough as they come - sun, frost, wind: the lot! Available now at your local wholesaler, see the support centre:




Botanical: Carex oshimensis 'Feather Falls'

Botanical: Plectranthus 'Plepalila'

Botanical: Liriope muscari

‘Feather Falls’ is a highly decorative Carex with outstanding garden and pot performance. The long clean and crisp foliage will reward you with a year-round maintenance-free plant. A highlight of this new variety is its beautiful plumes of feathery flower stems that emerge from the centre of the fresh new variegated foliage during the spring months.

Mona Lavender is a particularly attractive form of Plectranthus that does not spread like other members of the family, but rather forms a neat low shrub with an upright, erect habit. Mona Lavender is a wonderful solution to shady areas in the garden as well as making an ideal container or basket specimen for sheltered patios or entertainment areas.

Emerald Cascade has dramatic weeping emerald green foliage, and produces cobalt blue berries in the spring and summer. It is non-invasive, spreading slowly to form graceful thick mounds of foliage, and makes for a dense ground cover when planted en masse. It's for this reason that it lends itself perfectly to low maintenance landscapes, in both the domestic and public open space environments.

Characteristics: attractive foliage and outstanding performance, fast-growing for autumn colour impact, year-round foliage interest

Characteristics: superb indoor plant for a green wall, a lush and hardy shade lover, copes with a dry shaded area

Characteristics: year-round impact, perfect for edging and mass planting, ideal container feature Available now at your local wholesaler, see the support centre:

Available now at your local wholesaler, see the support centre:

Available now at your local wholesaler, see the support centre:

"There are some great recent release varieties that fit the role of a terrific addition to both domestic and commercial Landscape situations. Botanical: Osteospermum ecklonis Osteospermum Purple Sun features large flowers on plants with excellent branching and full, mounded habits. Has great consumer appeal. Featuring a vibrant orange colour that transitions into a deep purple ring surrounding the heart. Superior branching that controls the habit. Characteristics: Pollinator plant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Available now at Facey's Nursery / Plantmark / Meyer Nurseries


Special thanks to Ball Australia, Plants Management Australia and Flemings Nurseries for their plant lists. Please look at where these plants are available and make sure they become a part of your gardening palette."


CUPHEA HONEY BELLS Botanical: Cuphea hybrida This interspecific cuphea is floriferous with a semi-trailing habit, boasts eye-popping bicolour rose and light-yellow tubular shaped flowers. Perfect addition to the landscape, free flowering early spring to autumn. It will perform well in part shade to full sun and will endure and thrive throughout the summer. Characteristics: Pollinator plant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Heat Tolerant Available now at Facey's Nursery / Plantmark


Botanical: Cercis canadensis

Botanical: Styrax japonicas

Botanical: Pyrus calleryana x pyrifolia

A new addition to Fleming’s Enchanted Forest range, Cercis canadensis ‘Merlot’ has several features that make it superior to its well-known cousin -‘Forest Pansy’. ‘Merlot’ features thicker, glossier leaves with improved heat and drought tolerance and is a more compact, dense habit than ‘Forest Pansy’. This is an excellent home garden tree with great seasonal features – spring flowers, dark foliage and autumn colour.

If you love a flowering tree – this new introduction from Fleming’s Nurseries is sure to please! This beautiful small tree positively abounds with lovely small white flowers in late spring – hence its name. This tree looks too delicate to be able to survive tough sites, but has performed well when exposed to hot and windy conditions. The dense mid-green foliage is almost obscured by the delicate pure white bell shaped flowers in late spring. Autumn colour is generally unremarkable yellows. Produces a good central leader and regular branching. A perfect tree when a statement is needed.

A new ornamental pear that is going to blow you away! Fleming’s is excited to welcome our latest hybrid pear which is the narrowest of all ornamental pear cultivars. Perfect for narrow garden beds and screening and with a strong central leader, Javelin’s upright growth habit is maintained as it matures. Flower buds are tinged pink, opening to white before the foliage emerges. New growth is
an attractive maroon-purple and gradually turns to the dark glossy green that is typical of pears. Autumn colour is purple-red.

Available as 45L & 150L from Fleming’s Nurseries.

Available as 45L from Fleming's Nurseries

Available as 45L and 150L from Fleming’s Nurseries.

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Keeping My Promise

At the conclusion of my volunteer stay I raised the idea of training some of the residents at the Social Support Centre in horticulture and finding them employment in one of the many new resorts being built along the South China Sea. Viet was excited about the idea and we agreed that this would be a worthy project but sometime in the future when my children had completed school and I had more time. Ten years on and the horticulture training project has moved along with several notable milestones. My return to Vietnam in 2015 marked the start of the real work on the horticulture project: assessing the status quo of existing gardening practices; assessing the capacity of the residents at the DaNang Social Support Centre; and meeting with resort HR managers to gauge their interest with the project. Armed with this knowledge I began work on a horticulture course that caters for the residents at the DaNang Social Support Centre and delivers suitable outcomes for the resorts. I am formally partnered by Swinburne in 2017 with the signing of a MOU pledging support for the proposed horticulture training program at the DaNang Social Support Centre. In 2018 a bilingual horticulture course tailored for Vietnamese students was produced using the Australian Certificate II as a model. This course is currently being taught to 8 students at the

DaNang Social Support Centre by Stewart Detez from the Swinburne Wantirna campus via Skype every fortnight. It is expected that these students will complete the horticulture course by the end of 2021. In April 2019 I presented the DaNang pilot horticulture course to the Hau Giang community in the Mekong with a view to rolling out similar training in these parts. The heads of Hau Giang college were present at this meeting and invited a representative from Swinburne and I to meet in June 2019 to consider whether such a horticulture course could be taught at the college in partnership with Swinburne. After a marathon meeting at Hau Giang College in June 2019 with the heads of Hau Giang College, Stewart Detez from Swinburne, Viet from Volunteer Vietnam and myself, it was agreed in principle to move forward with a Certificate II Horticulture course at Hau Giang College. The details are still being negotiated but I am optimistic of a start in 2022 (COVID permitting).

"It is clear that the pilot horticulture program being delivered to the students in DaNang has provided a powerful template for delivering trade-based training in this region that was previously absent, and very much needed, in South East Asia."

More recently a charity foundation called Vocational Training South East Asia (VTSEA) has been created. It has five sitting board members representing Swinburne, Hau Giang College, Volunteer Vietnam and myself. The board will direct the project in terms of what will be taught and will provide appropriate governance over funds received and spent. There is a lifetime of work to do around this project, starting with meetings scheduled with the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in Ha Noi (when travel allows) to ensure that the proposed horticulture training program sits within the local legal framework. It is clear that the pilot horticulture program being delivered to the students in DaNang has provided a powerful template for delivering trade-based training in this region that was previously absent, and very much needed, in South East Asia. Visit to learn more. 33 of 4 4

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Whilst holidaying in Vietnam in 2010, I spent a few days as a volunteer at the DaNang Social Support Centre which caters for people that are unable to look after themselves because they have poor health, are too old, too young or they are simply too poor. The Social Support Centre is run by the Department of Social Services, it is under-resourced and relies heavily on volunteers to provide adequate care to the residents. A local privately run organization called Volunteer Vietnam, run by Dang Van Quoc Viet has taken on the responsibility of sourcing volunteers from all over the world to help provide basic care for the residents.

online The Move to Online Events events 2020 has been an extraordinary year for many organisations, including LVML. This year will be remembered as one where entire populations stayed home and did nothing, and yet so much was learned and achieved. By swiftly embracing remote working and online communication, LVML has been able to keep working as hard as ever to continue to provide a program of informative and fun events for our members. Like many other businesses, we have become heavy users of platforms like Zoom and Teams for our regular staff, Board and industry meetings.

One of our proudest achievements of 2020 also took the form of a webinar when This is a Conversation Starter were joined by LVML members Adam Hompas and Russ Sweetman to break the taboo and discuss mental health in the construction industry. The response and feedback from this webinar highlighted to us just how important this issue is, particularly this year. If you missed the webinar, we encourage you to visit our YouTube page to watch the recording and visit if you, or someone you know needs to start a conversation about mental health.

It was way back in March that we received the very sad (but not entirely unexpected) news that MIFGS 2020 had been cancelled due to government restrictions prohibiting large scale public events. Shortly after, and still reeling from MIFGS, The Landscape Show 2020, LVML’s landscaping trade expo, was also cancelled and LVHQ made the move to working from home.

LVML’s usual industry nights became another victim of Covid gathering restrictions so we brought the industry directly to members screens with the Five Minute Field Trip – a series of short educational videos by LVML’s supplier members showcasing their products.

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With some quick thinking and a desire to still deliver some kind of event for The Landscape Show’s exhibitors and attendees, we created The VIRTUAL Landscape Show – an online platform for landscaping suppliers to provide exclusive show specials directly to the trade. The VIRTUAL Landscape Show also gave us our first foray into webinars with the keynote panel discussion moving from real life, to online. We were fortunate enough to be joined by Performance Coach, Alan Rodway, Leanne Taylor from CBUS Superannuation Fund and Essendon Coach, John Worsfold who delivered a fascinating presentation on Recovery and Growth in the Post Pandemic Economy. With our first webinar done and dusted, more were to follow including LVML partner myhronline providing an update on Covid related HR issues for employers; an update on Pool Safety Barrier regulations from SPASAVIC and the VBA; an overview of personal and business insurance protection by LVML partner Insurance House; and we even reached out to prospective new members with a webinar presented by existing LVML members and board members. 3 4 of 4 4

Construction challenges, communicating effectively with clients, navigating VCAT and business tips for landscapers – it’s all on the table in the The Front Garden with a few laughs and a bit of banter along the way. Have a listen on your favourite streaming service the next time you are in the car! The shift to online everything has provided LVHQ with many new avenues and opportunities to reach out and stay in touch with our members. 2020 may be a year to forget, but the laughter, frustrations and stories shared online this year will always be remembered by Team LV.

One of the greatest benefits of LVML membership is the opportunity to meet and build relationships with other members. With pubs shut, we began meeting members online in the The Virtual Beer Garden for an informal weekly catch up. The Virtual Beer Garden then evolved into the The Back Shed where guest speakers imparted words of wisdom to their fellow members (check out page 17 to read about Martin Semken’s guest spot in The Back Shed). Our newest online initiative, The Front Garden podcast series, is the brainchild of LVML board members Chris Weiss and Tyson Owen. This podcast series provides a new way to bring LVML members and the industry together by featuring guest speakers sharing lessons learned with an array of stories from the trenches.

"With our first webinar done and dusted, more were to follow...."

"The VIRTUAL Landscape Show also gave us our first foray into webinars with the keynote panel discussion moving from real life, to online."

"2020 may be a year to forget, but the laughter, frsutrations and stories shared online this year will always be remembered by Team LV."

"...we began meeting members online in the The Virtual Beer Garden for an informal weekly catch up. The Virtual Beer Garden then evolved into the The Back Shed where guest speakers imparted words of wisdom to their fellow members."

"Our newest online initiative, The Front Garden podcast series... brings LVML members and the industry together by featuring... stories from the trenches."

"One of our proudest achievements of 2020 also took the form of a webinar when This is a Conversation Starter were joined by LVML members Adam Hompas and Russ Sweetman to break the taboo and discuss mental health in the construction industry."



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sell on value

Every business owner would love to charge more for their service or products, but feel that they must deliver a competitive quote or price because price is often the major determining factor a potential client uses to decide which company they choose. Price is important but not as important as you may think. Here are some points to help you think differently about maintenance contract and how to charge more. When you do all or most of these points, more of your sales will be higher in price and profit. Think about the way you connect with prospective clients so you are not just like most competitors, selling on price. Sure, price is important, but you don’t want it to be the most important factor. How do you offer more value to your prospective clients so the price of the quote is less important and the value you provide becomes the determining factor? Apply the 5 points and watch the results!

"Think about the way you connect with prospective clients so you are not just like most competitors, selling on price. Sure, price is important, but you don't want it to be the most important factor."

1. Don’t sell to your potential client Go to your next sales meeting with the intention of just having a conversation. It will take the pressure off you and allow you to gain rapport and be trustworthy from the start. The guys that have the greatest sales records tend you make their prospects feel comfortable and trust them from the start. When you go along with the intention of having a conversation and not selling, you will ask better questions and let the client talk more openly and allow the connection to establish itself. 2. Listen, listen, listen and find out what your prospective client’s value Some salespeople, just make sure the prospect is breathing … and then they dump all this info on them. One of the keys to having a highly effective sales process is to REALLY listen to your potential client, ask questions and find out what they want, what they need, what their concerns are, what they really value and expect. Perhaps its reliability, attention to detail, quality, an aesthetic look, a design that is aligned with their home. Whatever they value, find out and make sure it’s included in your follow up presentation. 3. Choose Your Targets Wisely Know which clients best suit your business and don’t waste time with those that don’t. An initial meeting with a prospect and creating an estimate takes time so, be clear in your mind about which clients are good for your business and then ask some qualifying questions prior to visiting a potential client. Your time is too important to be throwing it away. And your target market will not be so price driven.

0433 27 1980 |

4. Believe in the value you offer and show your prospect If you feel, what you are offering is really just a service like your competitor that is a sign you need to up your game. You need to show your prospects that your service has added value. How is your quality of the highest standard? How do you ensure quality assurance and let the prospect know? How well do you know your products (stones, timbers, plants, alternative products etc) and show the client? Do your designs meet the brief and their expectations? How do you make them feel that your team will be punctual, clean, friendly, professional and deliver the best result? Answer all these questions and you will be well on your way to delivering on value not price. 5. Impress them Build up your success stories by documenting testimonials from past successes. Tell potential clients some information about your company that builds their confidence in your business and team. Show them a professional visual presentation (laminated designs and pictures and or iPad photos and 3D videos) of your gallery of works that are relevant impressive jobs. Provide testimonials and a case study to highlight how you and your team met the expectations of a happy client (preferably a similar demographic, service and products). Be organised, plan your meeting and connect with your prospects. Show them it is common practice for you to provide clients with the best result that meets their needs and expectations.

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How to Sell on Value Rather Than Price


Landscape training MEGAN FLOWER | LVML

Landscape Training Package Review Landscapers play an integral role in creating safe, sustainable and functional outdoor spaces for private and public use. The AHC Training Package, which contains these skills standards, is one of the largest, most complex and diverse training packages in the Australian System. Given how vital it is that these skills are regularly reviewed and updated, the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved for this project to take place as outlined in the Skills Forecast and Program of Works 2019 – 2022. Why is the review taking place?

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The content of some of the relevant qualifications in the AHC Training Package has not been fully reviewed since 2010.

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As a national package, the content determines technical parameters and licencing arrangements in most states however some state regulators are hesitant to progress with licensing development because, at present, technical qualifications, based upon AHC Training Package units, have not been updated to meet current industry needs. Work is now underway as part of this project to update current qualifications, skill sets and units of competency in landscaping construction and design, so that they reflect current industry trends, support safe work practices, and promote clear career pathways, nationally.

What has happened so far? Five qualifications, four skill sets, and 24 units in landscaping construction and design have been reviewed in consultation with Subject Matter Experts (SME’s). Every state in Australia is represented in the SME group, which is imperative to the success of the project, including two LVML Members, Stewart Detez and Russ Sweetman, who have contributed significant time and effort to date. The SME group has identified the current job roles within the industry and known gaps in the skills standards. As a result of their review, two new units of competency are being drafted to address the increased use of computer-aided design (CAD) software as a standard work practice and the increasing trend to use outdoor tiling in landscape projects.

package review What happens next, and how can I get involved? Broad stakeholder consultation is now underway. Draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback, which can all be submitted online through the Skills Impact website.

I encourage every LVML Member to provide feedback. This is your opportunity to determine the future path of training in your industry. Head to the Skills Impact project page to sign up to receive newsletters regarding the project, or keep an eye on LV News as we will also publish details of the project stages and ask for Member input along the way.

As a Committee Member of the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation & Land Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC), any queries regarding the project can be directed to Megan Flower via the Landscaping Victoria office. E: T: 03 9566 7284


Purple Bloom and

Unique, black spires bursting with purple blooms • Big, mounding foliage

• Tall flower spikes create a mass of colour

• Looks great in the landscape

for enquiries contact our customer service team: (03) 9798-5355

plant me now!

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• Blooms all summer long

REACH AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST NETWORK OF PUBLIC SPACE PROJECT MANAGERS, CONTRACTORS AND DEVELOPERS Did you know the ODS network can help your business reach over 1500 people working in 347 different councils and local government nationally? In fact, our public space specifier network reaches the decision makers that look after more than 77% of the Australian population – and their public space projects! If your business would benefit from reaching an audience that specifies millions of dollars’ worth of commercial and civil projects every year, then Outdoor Design Source is your network.

To find out how ODS can help get your business into the hands of decision makers across the country contact:

Marcus Hucker Publishing Manager | 0410 338 119 |


return to work Returning to work - COVID style With so many projects partially completed and delayed at the beginning of Lockdown 2.0, the pressure will be on to catch up and get ahead. Site safety has taken on a new level importance with the continual threat of Covid outbreaks at any time. Landscaping and gardening services are safer than many other workplaces due the outdoor nature of the work, which is why business owners must remain vigilant about protecting the health and safety of staff and clients by not allowing complacency to creep in. When the pandemic first reached Australia’s shores, LVML life member Brian Rankin shared some words of wisdom that are still pertinent now, many months later: “Lead from the front. There are many things business owners can do to get the team behind them, but none quite like doing what you are asking your team to do. Set the lead in terms of hygiene, social distancing and general adherence to new workplace norms. This is going to be critical as one infection in one workplace with lazy attitudes could lead to a complete business closure and infection of the clients who have placed their trust in that company.

This really is no time to be complacent and if the business owner is not true to the task, their staff will be less likely to.” LVML have curated a range of information for our members (available on our members only Covid Business Advice webpage) to help them continue working or return to work safely and go above and beyond compliance requirements for worksite restrictions. Before setting foot on a job site, landscaping business owners MUST have: • A High Risk Covid Safe Plan in place • Provided all staff working away from home with a Permitted Worker Permit LVML also recommends familiarising yourself with the following helpful tools: • HIA Guidelines - Making Space on Site • WorkSafe - Information for Employers • WorkSafe Covid 19 checklist for employers LVML members can also download our Site Signage Templates which can be displayed while undertaking permitted works on site. Covid-safe workplace training will likely become mandatory in the near future. LVML Members can stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of a special 25% discount offer on Deakin Co's WHS Covid Training.

This 40-minute online course has been designed specifically to help Australian workplaces ensure their staff are trained in safe working practices to limit the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. LVML Members, Visit the LVML Covid Business Advice Page to access this exclusive offer.

"Nothing brings a smile to a face like a garden so we are lucky that what we create can correspond directly to the wellbeing of our clients." - Brian Rankin Covid has presented many challenges for landscaping professionals and created a great deal of stress throughout the industry, so let’s give the final word to Brian Rankin and remember why we are all so passionate about creating landcapes. “Nothing brings a smile to a face like a garden so we are lucky that what we create can correspond directly to the wellbeing of our clients.”

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With the gradual easing of Victorian Covid restrictions underway, the landscaping industry is making a return to work in what is traditionally the busiest time of the year – the Christmas deadline.

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Articles inside

Returning to work - COVID style

page 43

Review of Landscape Packages

pages 40-42

How to sell on value rather than price | John Corban, Landscapers Coach

page 39

Keeping my promise | Don Thomson

page 33

Closing the gate: Life lessons from Martin Semken

page 29

Wow your clients with the latest new plants | Greg Carrick, Garden City Plastics

pages 30-32

The move to online events

pages 34-38

Supplier site and client visits a two way street | Sure Gro

pages 27-28

Awards Retrospective

pages 8-18

Create a perfectly lit outdoor space this summer | Gardens at Night

pages 23-24

Smart technologies for tough times | Smart Water

pages 25-26

The value of trust | Warners Nurseries

pages 21-22

Our COVID challenge | David Thomson, StrathAyr

pages 19-20

Being Grateful & Giving Back | Andrew Grasby, SuperGardens

page 7

In Closing | Georgia Harper, Outgoing President, LVML

page 5

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining | Megan Flower, Chief Executive Officer, LVML

page 4
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