What can we expect from The Landscape Service over the next year?
Luke: We are celebrating five years of The Landscape Service and we think this could be our biggest year yet. James joined the company in September 2021 and since then has been working on updating the company domains.
James: We are both very excited about the large scale and private residential projects we have coming up this year, in particular for a biodiversity enhancement project we are running on the sandbanks of Dorset . We can’t wait to put our pencils to paper to start creating and transforming more unusable spaces into working and exciting outdoor spaces.
What projects are you currently working on?
Luke: Right now we’re 50% commercial and 50% residential. We work on public spaces and health and leisure projects through to affordable and high-end housing where we focus on luxury, modern and sustainable design.
James: One of the biggest projects we are currently working on is called Curtis Fields in Weymouth. We work in close collaboration with architects, local authorities, ecologists and road consultants to put in place a set of landscaping arrangements. Curtis Fields is the 600 home development – we had to break it down into phases. We completed 250 houses in the first phase, and have now moved on to creating 300 houses.
Do you see more and more customers opting for sustainable design?
James: Definitely, and we try to encourage that option and raise awareness as well. Many customers are interested in creating a space where they can grow their own vegetables, so much so that we believe we may come to a point in the near future where everyone will want an outdoor grow space.
Luke: The focus is on creating a green and eco-friendly garden, but we also encourage customers to think about how the garden is built. Was the transport involved environmentally friendly? Were the materials purchased locally?
James: Ultimately it comes down to cost. As a designer, I want to create amazing gardens, but the trick is to do it in the most cost effective way. For us, it is important to educate the customer, especially given the importance of nature in the fight against climate change. If the customer cares more, they are more willing to part with their money for the sustainable option. If they care less, we need to focus on the profitability of our design and construction.
What is important for The Landscape Service projects to achieve?
James: We incorporate a lot of thought, theory and research into every design we create to make sure we’re designing something we believe in. There’s no need to rush, and taking the extra time to design something is definitely worth it – if we’re not comfortable with a design, we’ll give it extra time. Our priority is the customer and it is essential that they are satisfied with our service and what we have designed.
Have you noticed any recurring trends?
James: In the residential sector, there is a better understanding of what outdoor spaces and gardens can offer. We have seen a huge demand for swimming pools, outdoor kitchens and glass dining tables, but overall people are turning more to low maintenance gardens.
The pandemic has prompted people to seek out designs that allow for more personal engagement with their garden. Over the past two years, we’ve noticed that customers are experimenting with their spacing more, and many approach us with a more open mind to creativity instead of wanting to get what they have in mind on paper fast. Keeping things modern and well-designed is important to customers because of their interest in increasing the price of their homes.
Luke: In the commercial sector, we’ve seen property developers start to care more about exterior design and sustainable options. Previously, developers focused on the cheaper option, but lately they seem to realize just how much value outdoor space can add. Places sell well if the exterior design is done properly, which has encouraged developers to get more creative.
What do you expect from the industry over the next year? What changes do you hope to see?
James: The use of more native plants could increase. Making design eco-friendly, finding alternatives and more sustainable, locally-sourced products is likely to increase, and I see the idea of “developing your own” gaining traction over the next year. also.
I think planning policies will adapt and develop. Recently we have completed projects in Croydon where the rules require all developers to be as sustainable and green as possible. We thought deeply about how our projects will feel and last, added more native plants, and finally it feels more sincere and makes for great design.
It is certainly a challenge and it involves innovation, but we support local authorities on the green path.
You recently launched your new website. What updates did it include?
James: The website had to show our vision, fit the brand and give us a voice. We needed a great platform to showcase our projects (past and present) and now the website looks cleaner, crisper and more professional than ever. I have written content about projects, developments and planning, horticultural therapy and new technologies that we can use in the industry.