12 Dec

‘Pro Landscaper Project Awards 2023 - Sustainable Garden Under £50,000’

‘Pro Landscaper Project Awards 2023 - Sustainable Garden Under £50,000’

We are thrilled to announce that on Tuesday 22nd November 2023, our ‘Japanese-Inspired Garden’ won the Pro Landscaper’s Project Award for ‘Sustainable Garden Under £50,000’. Similarly, the garden also won ‘Build Under £50,000’ for our preferred Landscaping Contractor JJH Landscapes. The garden was designed in collaboration with the design expertise of Aya Takeyama.

We thought we would share some information about the conceptualisation of the design, the build and the garden’s sustainability credentials.

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The client wanted a complete redesign of her south-facing, rear garden into a sustainable, modern, and beautiful Japanese-inspired space. Her knowledge, love and appreciation of traditional Japanese design would form part of the design inspiration for a more contemporary take on traditional Japanese moss and rock gardens. The underlying geometry of the design was inspired by the offset style of a traditional Japanese ‘Yatsuhashi’ footbridge.

We wanted to extract the beauty of traditional Japanese gardens and represent it in a modern, minimalist style, leveraging the contrast of rocks and greenery within the garden. This was coupled with incorporating essential elements of Japanese garden design – rocks, water, plants and ornaments and adopting the five Japanese garden design principles – asymmetry, enclosure, borrowed scenery (Shakkei), balance and symbolism.

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Recycling and reusing the materials from the current garden was imperative, as being as environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible was a core value for the client. Our target was to recycle and reuse 80-90% of the existing hard landscaping materials. She wished to retain her statues and garden ornaments which had sentimental value. Some of her existing plants and pots would also need to be considered for inclusion in the redesign.

Increasing biodiversity within the space was hugely important, so the soft landscaping areas within the garden were to be increased significantly.

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The construction of the garden adopted a number of sustainable methods and practices. Only one work vehicle was used by the contractors to travel to and from the site. This alleviated the very restricted parking available within such a small housing development, not to mention traffic congestion around the site, thus reducing CO2 emissions.

Heavy machinery was limited to one small mechanical digger, partly because of restricted access but also to minimise disruption to neighbours and any detrimental, physical impact on the development’s communal, open spaces.

All consumables needed on site, such as sand, cement, sub-bases etc were purchased within a mile radius of the client’s site at local industrial estates. Limiting the materials used on site also helped to reduce waste. Waste management on site involved separating and recycling waste.

During the process of ground clearance, the existing topsoil from the site was set aside for future use, minimising the need for imported topsoil. Likewise, 85% of the hard landscaping materials, the client’s Japanese statues, ornaments and existing plants were collected, cleaned and set aside for later use. From a sustainability perspective, the conserving of these garden possessions is far better for the environment than purchasing new ones.

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All pebble areas had a permeable sub-base, so all rainwater could drain into the ground within the confines of the site.

The original garden planting was restricted to mainly containerised planting and two species of invasive bamboo (since removed). The new planting scheme and its increased density was carefully chosen to improve the biodiversity of the site, attracting more pollinators and butterflies into the garden. It now accounts for 65% of the garden space. Some of the client’s existing plants were also incorporated into the new planting scheme. The topiary, evergreen shrubs, ferns and herbaceous perennials were chosen for being relatively low maintenance and drought tolerant. Long-term, they will require very minimal watering. Since completion, the client has observed a huge increase in birds, bees, butterflies and other insects now enjoying her new garden.

Rainwater is harvested to the side of the house now and an irrigation system was installed, to assist the client with the efficient use of mains water during any drought periods.

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Existing materials such as the decking, fence panels and posts had to be replaced because they were rotten. The decking was replaced with approx 6m2 of London Stone Jura Grey porcelain paving, chosen for its high quality, durability and high anti-slip rating. It was also selected for its natural appearance, which mimics natural stone in terms of texture and variation. London Stone is committed to the sustainable and ethical sourcing of its products. They are a carbon neutral company and are constantly working to reduce emissions and waste.

The patio itself was limited in size, to allow for the practical use of the space, but with the minimal use of porcelain. London Stone delivered the exact quantity of slabs to eliminate wastage and the need to move excess product from site.

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The wooden fence posts were replaced with duraposts – made from long lasting, maintenance-free, galvanised steel, boasting a 25-year guarantee. They are 100% recyclable, making them a sustainable option at the end of their working life. 80% lighter than concrete alternatives, they can be manoeuvred more quickly by hand, avoiding the need for mechanical transportation. The replacement feather edged panelling was painted black to aid longevity.

The limestone sitting rock was sourced from a farm in Somerset and had come from its redundant quarry. It was carefully selected to be both functional and to complement the muted tones of the porcelain paving and recycled hard landscaping materials.

All our designs are always underpinned by sustainability, ensuring that the client brief is met whilst limiting the impact on the local and wider environment and reducing water usage for the future. It is a core value within our design process and we are honoured to have been recognised within the landscaping industry for having successfully achieved this in our design and construction of the ‘Japanese-Inspired Garden’.

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Photos of the garden credited to Eleanor Walpole Photography.


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