Wholesale nursery Robin Tacchi Plants is offering a new direction to landscapers whose clients are using security fears as an excuse to cut back on planting.
Director Gill Tacchi said some customers are concerned criminals can use shrubs to hide behind and are stipulating cheaper planting.
The Norfolk-based company has issued a brochure on secure ground cover that aims to find soft landscaping solutions for areas that might have been replaced by hard landscaping. It includes Ajuga, Cotoneaster and Hedera.
Tacchi added that superstores used to spend more than £10,000 on new-build soft landscaping but now it often costs just £5,000. “The perceived value seems to have dropped. Clients such as supermarkets tend to go for cheaper options so when the landscaping design goes in it looks extremely sparse,” she said.
“Security is now a big enough issue for us to be proactive about it. Expectations tend to be lower if people see a new scheme is hardly there. This kind of planting is a solution if you’re concerned about things being hidden. You can’t hide behind these plants.”
Senior associate Dinah Higgins of Essex-based Liz Lake Associates said superstores are cutting costs because of fierce competition between them and were using planting as “a gesture without any real outcome.”
Essex-based Ground Control is the sole landscape contractor for Tesco. Senior contracts manager Neil Huck said: “Supermarkets do try to get away with the least amount of [soft] landscaping but they’re not allowed because of planning agreements.”
He added that muggings in car parks were an issue. His company has cut shrubs in car parks where customers felt uneasy.
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