Grace Landscapes has won a maintain-and-build contract, after picking up more than £1.3m worth of work over the past six months.
The three-year deal worth £640,000 will see the Yorkshire-based company look after seven sites for the Harworth Group across northern England and the Midlands.
Grace was engaged by landscape architect Welch Landscape Design to do landscaping work on the sites and improve them visually while making them cheaper to maintain. Work started on three sites on 1 February, with Grace due to begin on the other four on 1 April.
"We will be planting trees to create avenues and enhance entrances, and change grass areas into wild flower meadows and ornamental gravel to save on maintenance costs," said commercial director Jo Hardingham. Around 5,000sq m will be changed in all and repairs to fencing, staining and hedge work are also part of the package.
Grace will also plant semi-mature trees and undertake clearance work. The investment in the first phase is £137,000 with work due to complete by the end of May, with around £425,000 due to be spent over three years. The maintenance contract is worth £80,000 a year to the company.
Hardingham added: "The work will save our client £15,000 a year in maintenance costs. It's good for us because it gives us lots of forward work." Grace's portfolio is currently split 50:50 build and maintenance.
The contract win follows a successful six months for the company, during which it brought in £670,000 of significant contract wins. The landscaping and maintenance work includes a £220,000 job at Glasgow Fort Retail Park, a £130,000 deal with energy firm E.ON and work around the new headquarters of outdoor clothing and lifestyle company Regatta for £90,000 - as well as "a huge number of smaller wins, such as schools", said Hardingham.
Grace, established in 1978 as a "one man and his van" operation, now covers horticulture, design and management, offering a blended service to clients with the help of 130 staff members. Its coverage stretches from the Midlands to the Scottish Borders, with a turnover hitting £5.5m a year.
Market contrast North lags behind south
The market is improving in the north but still dragging behind the boom down south, according to Grace Landscapes commercial director Jo Hardingham.
"It's still quite hard work," she added. "Maintenance contracts are starting to build again and we are getting some design and build work - that completely dropped off during the recession.
"We've just priced up a huge private garden. It's picking back up again. The main contractors are starting to get orders into their books, which means their clients are getting work 18 months down the line."