National landscaping award success for Adam Vetere Landscape & Garden Design
Photo by Steve Burden Photography
This year Adam Vetere Landscape & Garden Design won two awards
On Friday 18th March, The Association of Professional Landscapers Awards 2022 were held in the heart of London, nestled between its financial district and the creative community of Shoreditch, at the site of the former Whitbread Brewery. Now an international events venue, The Brewery welcomed more than four hundred people to this prestigious, annual event, all of whom work within the landscape industry.
Hosted this year by renowned garden designer, writer and public speaker, James Alexander Sinclair, this annual event recognises, and rewards registered members who are committed to providing the highest standards of landscape contracting and client satisfaction. Projects must demonstrate technical and horticultural excellence.
Best In Category – Soft Landscaping
For his ‘Ravine Garden’
‘This garden has an extremely sophisticated planting scheme, including a lot of research into the choice of plants. It functions beautifully all year round, it feels like an oasis to be in. Overall, it’s a fantastic, finished garden.’
Best In Category – APL Designer of the Year
For his ‘Artist’s Garden’
‘A dynamic and interesting shaped garden. The attention to detail was superb and the workmanship was fantastic. It shows a great understanding of garden design.’
Following the excitement of this year’s awards ceremony, I caught up with Adam to ask him about the event, the inspiration behind both award-winning gardens and to gain an insight into the landscape industry and what it means for him.
Describe the atmosphere at this year’s APL Awards 2022
‘You could really feel the mix of anticipation, excitement, and nervousness in the air. It was great to meet up with people face to face, given the last two years we have all experienced with national lockdowns and virtual meetings. There was a sense of collective relief that the awards ceremony could be enjoyed, and the creativity of the last year celebrated together.’
What inspired you to create both gardens?
‘Inspiration for the Ravine Garden came from my many visits to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I never tire of visiting it. Recently I visited while holidaying in Cornwall - seeing the Gunneras emerge from their winter slumber never fails to excite me, or the spectacular displays of Primula candelabra with their layered whorls of vibrant orange, pink and purple flowers. The Ravine Garden was created to deliver a truly vibrant planting scheme, which would provide interest all through the year and increase the biodiversity of the site significantly. The site conditions are unique with a cool, damp and shady valley floor, which graduate through east and west facing banks to the hot and dry planting of the southerly facing banks. As such, the conditions were both a challenge and a huge opportunity to blend diverse, yet fascinating planting schemes which would thrive. I always relish a horticultural challenge so far as plants are concerned.’
‘Inspiration for the structure and design of the Artist’s Garden came from the client's wonderful glass sculptures. There were many to choose from, but the underlying theme is one of strong lines, geometry, stacked features and rectangles. These shapes determined the heart of the design (geometry of the garden), plus it allowed for some interesting detailing and finishing touches. The rectilinear design allowed for the easy segregation of the garden into three distinct zones, the intimate garden which houses the two seating areas and the water feature, the flexible garden which houses the lawn for her grandchildren and the dining area on the terrace and the area for her glass studio. I was able to play with the heights through the garden, bringing raised beds, cantilever benching, bespoke corten steel screens and a water feature into the space, which added interest, dynamism, and vitality to the design, all of which were lacking prior to this.’
Your proudest moment to date?
‘It has to be winning not one, but two APL Awards this year - not least the coveted Designer of the Year Award! I am truly humbled to have received both awards and it is an honour to be recognised and rewarded by the APL for the design projects I am most passionate about. The competition was strong this year and it was a privilege to talk with contractors and fellow designers about their work.’
Photo by Steve Burden Photography
The best thing about the APL?
‘The APL are one of the leading organisations in this industry. They are an inclusive organisation and a great resource in terms of facilitating communication between designers and contractors. My experience of the APL’s support of its members through Covid particularly, has been incredibly positive. Virtual CPD training helped me to further develop my CPD and fully met my needs.’
How would you describe your design style?
‘Adventurous – I am continually looking to push boundaries in my design work whether it is the planting schemes or the use of building materials. I am inspired by contemporary design, naturalistic and architectural planting. For many years now, the concept of sustainability has underpinned all my designs.’
Your greatest challenge to date?
‘The volatility of material and labour costs over the last two years is by far one of the biggest challenges I have met. It makes designing a garden extremely difficult, especially when the process takes as long as 6-12 months. To mitigate this, I have had to design out cost within the design process. It can be frustrating when cost ‘shackles’ your creativity!’
Any top tips for ‘would like to be’ designers?
‘Enrol with a college such as The London College of Garden Design. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the inspirational training I experienced there - learning from some of the very best people in the industry. Set up your design website early in the training process, then you will be ready and prepared for launching your new career. My final top tip would be don’t be shy, get yourself out there. You might surprise yourself!’
What can we expect from you in 2023?
‘I am excited for 2023. Several of my Design-Phase projects will be constructed Late 2022/Early 2023. I cannot wait for my clients’ dreams for their outdoor spaces to be fully realised! I am submitting my Contemporary Courtyard Garden, constructed this year by JJH Landscapes & Construction Ltd, for the APL Awards 2023. We anticipate submitting the design under the categories of Soft Landscaping, Designer of the Year and Collaboration.’