Are you seeing a greater shift to hard landscaping?

HW polled suppliers and landscape designers.

Ramon Lawal, director, Outdoor Creations "The balance still seems to be there and generally clients are looking beyond their initial needs into the future. However, while we haven't noticed a shift on the domestic side, it is different in commercial.

"I think that on the commercial side it is about landscape architects and designers trying to create impact through strategic planting, so in those schemes the percentage of soft landscaping is lower.

"It also comes down to maintenance. If you incorporate 60 per cent soft landscaping, costs can be prohibitive."


Nick Coslett, marketing and sales manager, Palmstead Nurseries "All nurserymen are worried about the move from soft to hard landscaping. One of the problems is that there aren't the skills to look after soft landscaping but it is perceived as having a lot of skills attached.

"We have seen a trend away from soft landscaping if you look at schemes that have gone on the ground. There's a fear of what's seen as a higher-maintenance burden because people aren't confident of being able to resource it or find people with the skills to look after it."


Mark Gregory, director, Landform Consultants "Personally, I don't see a big swing towards hard landscaping. I think it's quite balanced.

"The dynamics of our world are changing, with an emphasis on issues such as sustainable urban drainage, and that is very good for our industry. I think through that soft landscaping is increasing.

"There is possibly more technical expertise in hard landscaping in our industry and not enough focus on what soft landscaping requires. There is a lack of skills in pure horticulture, which worries me. Maybe some companies are drifting towards where their expertise lies."


Andrew Fisher Tomlin, director, Fisher Tomlin "I believe that in commercial projects, designers and landscape architects are taking note of the need for soft landscaping.

"There are people such as James Hitchmough, Nigel Dunnett and Brita von Schoenaich talking about perennial meadows and that is coming through in projects like the Olympic Park.

"The future of commercial landscaping is very much green. Not only is it grass and trees, but also areas specifically for biodiversity and colour, such as wild flower meadows."


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