Landscaping for Glampsites

Advice on the use of landscaping to maximise the utility and ambience of your glampsite

Crown and Canopy
Pic: Crown and Canopy
Edward BusbyEdward Busby, glamping consultant
Crown and Canopy
07837 162 452 / www.crownandcanopy.co.uk

Describe the importance of landscape design for glampsites
Landscape design can have a large impact on a glamping site as the surroundings play a key role in client experience. Clients come to experience the countryside and nature, and landscape design gives you the opportunity to enhance the natural environment around them.

In an ideal scenario, the natural landscape and setting would not need any work at all, after all we are trying to get away from man-made and manicured surroundings. These spots, however, can be hard to find and sometimes it’s difficult to get planning permission on them. If the surroundings are a little sparse, tame or visible, this is where landscape design can be invaluable.

It is important to give your clients as much privacy as possible, and using natural barriers and plant designs is the best way to do this. It is advisable to employ these methods in car parks as well as the main site for the same reasons.

When seeking planning permission, landscape design can be a valuable tool when negotiating the visual impact of a build, especially in the more sensitive areas.

Once you have picked a spot on your land, then you can begin to structure the layout of the site. Bear in mind the direction of the prevailing wind, especially in exposed areas and when using canvas structures. If there is a natural wind barrier that you can utilize, such as a hedge or trees, then do so, otherwise you may want to think about creating one

If your site is on a hillside and the ground is unsuitable to set up on, then you will need to think about creating a level platform to build upon. Before undertaking earthworks, it is important to remember that the ideal look and setting is a natural one, therefore working with the natural lines and contours of the ground is especially important. When cutting in and creating the area, be sure to avoid straight lines and square corners, and try to replicate what is already around you. If you are undertaking ground works then drainage and water run-off are also important elements to think about.

When it comes to orientation, think about what you can see from different part of each accommodation unit’s site. This also goes for others in close proximity. Ideally, they would be spaced as far apart as possible, however, if this is not possible, then landscaping can give the illusion of greater privacy.

Please give some simple ideas that could be achieved on a small to medium-sized budget

  • If you do not have the luxury of lots of space, then an effective way to provide privacy is a planting plan using woody shrubs and trees. Earth barriers can also be used here.
  • You can add in nice touches such as wild flowers and other native plants.
  • Create an alternative space adjacent to your structure(s) for a fire pit and outdoor cooking space. People love this and it is low impact and cheap.
  • Plant up some fruiting bushes and trees close to your site so your clients can forage with children and maybe even cook with some of the produce.
  • A small kitchen herb border or herb spiral can be incorporated into your plant design for cooking on site.

Please give some more extravagant ideas that could be achieved on a larger budget

  • Create a beautiful pathway to your retreat. This means the cars are now out of sight and mind, and it will add the element of surprise on arrival.
  • Creating small outdoor swimming pools and paddling spots can be a great addition for summer, however, health and safety regulations must be carefully considered in this situation.
  • Outdoor cooking, dining and even sleeping spaces can provide a unique experience.
  • Having raised platforms and decks for your clients to use will keep them out of the mud. This can also create the perfect area for a hot tub or other unique touches.
  • You can create earth platforms to elevate your site and harness views. However, in cases such as this, a good plant/tree design is even more necessary to hold the ground together and also fit in with the natural aesthetic. By creating these tiered levels, you can make your site more interesting and quirky.

Describe a project in which you have been involved
Recently, we undertook a project that involved a considerable amount of landscape work, adding extra accommodation in the form of glamping retreats to an existing farm house and pasture land. The vision for the property was for a venue space with accommodation for weddings and other outdoor events. The pasture land where our structures were installed is on quite a steep gradient, and it was necessary to dig in and create level platforms.

In addition to this, we created camping platforms for bell tents, as well as barbecue and fire pit spots that get sunset views. In order to provide this extra space, we have had to create four terraces on the land, but with a sympathetic approach to the existing contours. This will mean that when it grasses over it will have a natural looking finish.

We are currently building two wagons to be installed on the land. These will have all the facilities they need to be independent from the house, and will sleep up to six people. A plant/tree design will then follow the building work to help it sit in the landscape, and add to the aesthetics and biodiversity of the site.

Pic: Jost Gantar
Maja DimnikMaja Dimnik, co-founder & marketing director
GLAMPro
+386 41 616 302/www.glampro.eu

Describe the importance of landscape design for glampsites
At the core of a glamping experience is a site plan that is completely fused with its location. The design of a superior glampsite will have consideration given to every detail; every stone and plant with a specific micro place, every brook and path designed thoughtfully. Everything should be considered and ‘stacked’ together to create a whole story that works naturally and gives a feeling of homeliness, comfort, luxury and safety. Each glampsite is unique, and this gives the opportunity for it to develop its own unique, extraordinary and unrepeatable story.

Depending on the natural conditions (terrain, natural vegetation, climate, culture, heritage) GLAMPro creates resorts that are tailored to modern man (thinking, needs, lifestyle, philosophy), but built according to the ‘rules’ of nature.

An important piece of advice is to choose a landscape designer who understands your vision. It is also essential that before beginning (when everything is still just a dream), you commit yourself to work for the good of nature, community and your clients. If you fail on this point, you fail on the whole story before you even start. Design the wider concept from the very start and integrate this into the planning of natural effects (wood, water, grass, stones, fire, plants, etc.) and other facilities (ponds/pools, restaurants, playgrounds, etc.) to achieve the desired aesthetic, zoning, privacy and natural feeling.

Please give some simple ideas that could be achieved on a small to medium-sized budget
If financial resources are limited to a small/medium budget, we would strive to do the best of what is possible in all aspects and conditions. We advise what we would include in a concept and at the same time try to fulfil a client’s wishes and expectations. With small to medium-sized budget plenty can still be achieved with paths, vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, an open-air cinema area, hanging relaxation nets, open air fireplaces, and natural ponds.

Please give some more extravagant ideas that could be achieved on a larger budget
Where funds are not limited, then a glamping resort can be created with natural biological swimming pools, hanging gardens, and tree houses with wooden slides, hammocks and hanging bridges. You can also include private wellness areas at each accommodation unit, private gardens and playgrounds, saunas, vineyards, brooks, waterfalls, unique restaurants, tree bars, fountains, zip lines and more. It is all down to imagination. We do strongly recommend to glampsites with larger budgets to incorporate an adventure park area in order to attract more guests.

The options really are endless. The key is in the specific combination of features, their details and symbiosis. This produces the magic.

Describe a project in which you have been involved
Glamping is now my way of life, my passion and profession. I’m creating, exploring, thinking, developing, studying, connecting, giving lectures and counselling in the glamping field. And in our team, we are all like that. Each of our projects speak for themselves, and each has its own personal and unique story – that’s why we are known as the ‘glamping story makers’.

In 2014, the Garden Village Bled opened in Slovenia. Here we created a luxury story of nature, where a stream flows through the restaurant, guests eat on ‘living’ tables where grass and herbs grow, and there are fish ponds where people can fish from their beds. There is also a tree top spa, and private gardens and greenhouses for guests to forage crops from. The site was placed among top five glamping hotels around the world.

Nick HarperNick Harper BA DipLA CMLI, partner
Harper Landscape Architecture
01424 442 842/www.harperlandscapearchitecture.co.uk

Describe the importance of landscape design for glampsites
Have you ever wanted to take a holiday where you have a view of an industrial plant, a motorway or an airport? Unless you have a specialist interest in ship building, fast moving cars or aeroplanes the likelihood is that you want to be immersed in a fantastic landscape and this is likely to be your key consideration in deciding where to go for your break.

How important is landscape? In 1950 30% of the world’s population lived in cities, today 54% of us live in them, and by 2050, the prediction is that 66% of us will be urban dwellers. People seem to like living in cities, but when it comes to holidays there is an inclination to return to nature. In 2012, a psychological study by Nisbet and Zelinski of Carleton University, Ottawa, found that human happiness correlates with a person’s “nature relatedness”, or their proximity to nature and natural processes. Glamping can benefit from this scenario by offering holiday destinations and experiences where people can escape hectic lifestyles, whether urban or not, and regain access to the natural world with comfort and luxury.

Please give some simple ideas that could be achieved on a range of budgets
As a landscape architect, when I visit a new site I am looking for a sense of place, a big idea or a way to draw out landscape subtlety to create a concept on which a new glampsite design can hang. Understanding a site and defining a design concept is essential in creating the chemistry between the landscape, the client and the vision. Clearly, the budget is also key, and our proposals seek to suit simple inexpensive experiences (pond dipping, green trails, viewing areas, etc.) as well as extravagant pleasures (tree houses and walkways in the canopies of trees, natural swimming pools and outdoor saunas, hot tubs with fantastic landscape views, etc.). Our aim is to ensure that at the heart of our designs the site truly identifies with its existing sense of place, its character and its views.

Harper Landscape Architecture is a practice that seeks to understand landscape at all scales, from regional landscape character to the local visual backdrop (mountains, lakes, woods and meadows), to each site’s connectivity with natural processes, and to the experience in and around each chalet, pod or yurt. Our aim is to understand what our clients want and to fully explore the vision by developing a brief with them, assessing a site’s opportunities and constraints, offering engaging and sensitive design proposals, and proposing high quality detail design and management plans.

Describe a project in which you have been involved
We have worked on a number of amazing glampsites with some great clients. The sites and client visions have been at various scales. Through iterative and careful design, we have helped clients to engage with local authorities and other statutory bodies to deliver new glampsites in nationally sensitive landscapes. Our portfolio of work has included a large-scale quarry in Somerset, where lodges and pods are located on ledges with dramatic views to lakes and woodland below. Also in our portfolio is an intimate woodland experience in Kent’s High Weald, with glamorous tents located in amongst wooded areas with special views of the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Also, there’s a Downland cabin site using modern architectural units on steep slopes with stunning views across the South Downs National Park.

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