Drought causes landscaping cuts

The landscaping industry is being hit hard by the water shortage in the south east of England.

The drought is causing up to a quarter of clients to cancel landscaping jobs owing to fears over watering. Some landscapers and garden designers are reporting a drop in trade while using water-saving methods to ensure that planting is still possible. London garden designer Phillipa O’Brien said the hosepipe ban imposed by Thames Water had seen 25 per cent of her jobs cancelled because “people are not prepared to take the risk”. She said: “I’m doing my last planting job of the year now, when normally I would carry on for at least another six weeks. “On large projects, you can’t risk spending £10,000 on plants and not being able to water them.” O’Brien said she would be laying no more lawns and was turning towards more drought-resistant plants but that at present it was not a real concern. “If it goes on next year and it becomes a drought order, we don’t know what will happen. We are hoping it’s just a blip.” Landscape designer Stephen Wenlock of Witham-based firm Stephen John said that although he had seen no decline in trade, plants in gardens he was revisiting were dying due to the lack of rain, combined with hosepipe bans. Owner Eline Hansen of Brighton-based BN1 Environmental Design said her sustainable planting methods were becoming more popular. She added: “Many people are still not taking water recycling seriously enough.” But the drought need not hit everyone. Kent-based landscape architect Tom La Dell said that, with sensible planning, water shortages can always be overcome.

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