Making the most of outdoor areas with advice from expert suppliers.
About the Author
Gary Whitney is managing director of STIGA UK. Established in Swedenin 1934, STIGA has more than 80 years of experience and is well known for the quality and reliability of its lawnmowers, front cut ride-ons, lawn tractors and garden equipment, designed with the harsh conditions of the Nordic climate in mind.
All STIGA garden machinery is delivered fully assembled and made ready for use by a local approved STIGA dealer. Products have comprehensive manufacturer warranties for years of service and reliability.
0800 669 6326
If you have grounds that need maintaining for corporate events or for weddings, there are some essential pieces of kit that an estate’s team should have in their arsenal – mowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and blowers to name but a few!
For expansive areas of lawn, generally a ride-on mower that excels in terms of productivity, maneuverability and driver-comfort is required.
STIGA has a comprehensive range of front-cut ride-ons with 50:50 articulated steering systems, smooth, foot-pedal-controlled hydrostatic transmissions and forward-mounted decks providing access to the sort of awkward corners that would be impossible to get to with a conventional mid-deck machine.
Mowing around and between marquees or gazebos with a standard ride-on can be tricky, as the driver has to keep a close eye on the machine’s rear, constantly checking it’s not going to strike anything. Front-cuts eliminate this problem, as the back-end exactly tracks the front-end, which in turn enables the driver to forget about what’s happening to the rear and concentrate fully on getting the job done.
No matter the size of your site, there’s a machine to suit, with cutting-widths ranging from a compact and easy to manage 85cm, all the way up to an impressively productive 125cm.
Must have tools
No groundsman should be without a hedge trimmer, with options of electric, battery and petrol available, the chance to tidy up that most important of finishing touches, the hedge, couldn’t be easier!
A sturdy chainsaw is a must too and with advanced engine technology, the STIGA SP 466 45cm/18″ is the perfect example of a robust chainsaw suitable for cutting wood and timbers with minimal effort. The lightweight, ergonomic design makes this chainsaw easy to handle and work without tiring.
At any time of year, a good blower is a necessity and with the STIGA SBP 375 you will have one of the most powerful and easy to use. This rucksack leaf blower for tackling the most demanding tasks, has a harness with shoulder straps and belt, which means the weight can be distributed across your shoulders, making work more comfortable and easier even when tasks are more demanding and span across large areas.
Adding these mowing machines and modern garden tools to your collection of must haves, will enable you to never again miss any aspect of ground care for formal gardens or ‘polished’ areas for weddings and corporate events.
Surfaces, Alcoves and Fencing
About the Author
Robert Mycroft co-owns Low Road Nursery, a family run business established in 1988. Originally a bedding plant nursery, it quickly earned a name for quality and affordability. As market trends altered, it became a hanging basket specialist, providing hanging baskets and container planters to the public and private sectors alike, gaining many awards for customers including “pub in bloom” and “town in bloom” gold medal winners year on year.
Its range of products has expanded to include automatic irrigation systems and landscaping products including contoured lawns, turf, artificial grass, paving, timber fencing and a range of bespoke wooden structures. These timber focal features include seating areas, barrel booth dining pods (popular with pub gardens) and glamping structures.
Low Road Nursery
Consider the benefits of different landscape materials when it comes to changing your environment. Artificial turf can transform old, uneven or broken concrete/tarmac and slab areas with little surface preparation into a lush green lawn without the need of expensive excavation works or continued maintenance. Artificial turf can, however, be expensive on very large areas or when replacing existing real grass as the turf needs removing and the earth reducing in depth to accommodate the sub base hardcore stone.
Indian stone paving brings a traditional luxury feel to a patio, and it is not as expensive as you might think. With many different colours and finishes, Indian stone can have the appearance of old York stone flags or modern slate and granite pavers. Concrete slabs should be kept for amenity areas.
Resin bound gravel surfaces bring a clean modern feel to patios, paths and drives, offering a multitude of colours and gravel sizes – they are also great for children’s play areas. Being SUDS (sustainable urban drainage system) compliant, these surfaces may not need planning permission depending on what the foundation is. The thickness of the resin or foundation layer material dictates what the surface can be used for – drives need to be thicker and also laid over a concrete foundation. Existing concrete foundations will not require planning.
Cell retained gravel mats are a cheap solution for large areas where loose gravel would normally be used. The cell structure and weed membrane mat base stops the gravel from migrating, at the same time as helping spread the weight of any vehicle passage. The cells are filled to the top with loose gravel or can be filled with a sand/soil mix and seeded with grass to give a lawn that can be driven or walked on without damage.
Alcoves and fences
Fences need not be solid or even traditional picket style; chunky round posts strung with chunky rope make an informal but definite boundary that can be combined with the occasional tall post for festoon lighting.
Mixing chunky timber with RSJ steel beams or thick rebar rods can give an engineered feel. Use powder coated crisp angles for a modern look or raw rusted steel that is lacquered to give the rustic repurposed look.
Raised sleeper borders can be installed to create private alcoves or booth style areas with integrated seating and tables. Tall chunky round poles positioned around the garden with festoon lighting strung between lends a Mediterranean feel and provides a more subtle environment.
In terms of planting, structural planting can be mixed with floral plants and scented shrubs in small number batches to achieve the effect of a homely feel and not a commercially planted border.
What is a Landscape Architect?
About the Author
Katy Craine is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute and director of Diversity Environmental Consultants. This consultancy specialises in landscape architecture and ecology, which has been in practice for 20 years, providing advice, survey, assessment, planning and design services to the public and private sector.
Diversity Environmental Consultants
A landscape architect is often mistaken for a garden designer, and although landscape architects do often design gardens, and enjoy doing so, we design anything outside.
While a garden design usually works to a garden boundary, such as a fence or wall, landscape architecture is the study and design of the landscape beyond that boundary. When we undertake a survey, as well as registering ground levels, physical constraints and tangible features, we study the character and feel, or ‘spirit of the place’, and look out to the horizon. This survey then feeds into decisions on how we use that space while respecting natural environmental assets and wildlife. In other words, landscape architects use their creative skills to solve problems and make projects happen to achieve positive environmental, social-behavioural, and aesthetic outcomes.
Landscape architects work with landowners, local communities, large multi-disciplinary teams and planning authorities, and with ecologists, to help to turn a space into a place.
If you are responsible for an area of land, and have ideas about how you wish to change, improve or enhance it for those who live, work or visit there (while allowing nature to thrive) then you need a landscape architect. Landscape architects can help you to shape your vision.
There are various levels to which a landscape architect can get involved. We can undertake initial surveys and generate some overall thoughts on what might happen in a place. Then, once agreed, ideas can be worked on and interpreted into a master plan (an illustrated map). This master plan can be phased according to the budget and resources available. Detailed proposals can then be drawn up and contracts procured to implement the works. Landscape architects can advise if planning permission will be necessary and, if so, can undertake the planning application for you.
A masterplan will illustrate the vision that you have for your land. This may be particularly relevant to readers who have a specific visitor experience in mind; the masterplan will enable delivery of that vision. Spaces can be designed to tell a story, can direct the way visitors arrive, how they explore and discover your land, function or event, and can also be designed to surprise and inspire.
Examples of our work
• The design and contract procurement of a private garden to be used as a wedding and party venue in the grounds of a large Georgian house in the Cotswolds.
• The design of the grounds, including the production of documents for a successful planning application, of a farmstead to be converted to a series of 21 holiday let units associated with a Tudor castle, visitor attraction and wedding venue in Herefordshire.
• Consultant to a travel operator in the Maldives in the conversion of a disused military base. Advice was given to assist the construction of an island resort with a low environmental impact.
• Katy Craine also contributed to a huge project, involving multi-disciplinary teams, that secured planning permission for a tunnel beside Stonehenge in order to re-route heavy traffic away from this World Heritage site and to give it the setting that it deserves.
We are embracing the dark nights and the influx of bookings for exterior lighting at the end of 2019 and going into 2020. Each year more and more corporate clients and prospective brides and grooms come to us to discuss the lighting options we can deliver. We know there needs to be a practical aspect, such as lighting walkways and parking areas at events, but we also love the creative freedom that we are given by clients. Lighting caves and follies, and anything from town halls to canvas domes in striking colours, we can add in gobos for a simple and effective way to ‘paint with light’ and tie the visual in to the chosen theme instantly.