Despite the impact the harsh weather conditions have had on slowing work over the past couple of months, pre-registration stats for the exhibition - to be held at Coventry's Ricoh Arena on 24-25 March - are looking good, according to organisers Marwood Events.
Events director Steven Callaghan said he was "extremely pleased" with the visitors registered so far. "Landscapers in large numbers, award-winning designers, landscape architects, garden retail outlets, builders merchants, landscaping academics and paving companies have pre-registered," he explained.
"We are also getting good numbers of councils, public and private utility companies and highway and pavement maintenance firms."
As well as a series of seminars exploring issues such as pavement design and construction, and the use of sealants, HW will be leading its own panel discussion examining the balance between planting and hard landscaping.
Panel members include the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) chief executive Jason Lock and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) chairman elect Paul Cowell.
In addition, Wyevale Nurseries sales and marketing director Doug Reade will share his experience of supplying stock to landscapers and developers, while Scotscape managing director Angus Cunningham will provide ideas for incorporating features such as living walls.
Scotscape's work appeared at the Ecobuild exhibition earlier this month as part of the Patrick Collins-designed Capita Symonds green cube installation.
Cunningham told HW that combining hard landscaping with soft features could help ensure projects meet environmental targets, such as the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) for buildings. "Planting - through living walls - ticks so many boxes in terms of BREEAM, which is an environmental assessment method for buildings," emphasised Cunningham.
"It is very topical, because many planners are looking at BREEAM standards before accepting schemes."
According to Callaghan, the show is expected to attract around 1,000 visitors. "We are approaching 60 exhibitors and they will be showing more than 30 categories of products over almost 2,500sq m of comfortable, air-conditioned hall," he added.
Exhibitors include Kubota, Stihl, NCC Streetscape, Groundscare Products, and Instarmac. Others signed up are Steintec, which is sponsoring a sett-laying masterclass, Lafarge, Probst, Lonstone, sustainable drainage company Aquadyne and Danish manufacturer Larsens Building Products.
A special demo plaza is being created at the heart of the hall where practical, hands-on tuition will take place throughout both days of the show.
Close to the demo zone is an "artisan avenue", which has been put together by garden designer Claudia de Yong.
Among those featuring in the special section are: Chris Nangle, who produces green oak street furniture and public seating; Helen Nock, who specialises in garden art and furniture; Fenland Ironworks, which produces decorative arches and gazebos; and Quercus Fencing.
Quercus Fencing managing director Lisa Beard - whose oak fencing has been used by designers at the Future Gardens site in St Albans, as well as at RHS Chelsea Flower Show - told HW the Hard Landscaping Show was a good chance to reach people outside London.
"We tend to exhibit mostly in London, so it allows us to approach a new region," explained Beard. "A lot of people find our products through the internet, but a picture doesn't have the same impact as seeing the fencing. It really needs to be seen, and shows are good for that. People love touching and even smelling the oak."
The show will also allow firms the chance to enter projects in a competition with three awards categories. They cover projects with a value of up to £10,000, £20,000 and over £20,000.
The winning entry for each category will receive a prize and a show medal.
Firms can enter a maximum of three projects in each category. The schemes must have been completed in 2009. Details on how to enter are available at the Hard Landscaping Show website.
Meanwhile, networking will be an important aspect of the show, according to APL chief executive Jason Lock.
"Given the winter we have just been through and the trouble a lot of landscapers have found themselves in, the show could be a good opportunity to get out there and meet potential new clients," he said.
- To register for the show, or enter a project in the awards, visit www.hardlandscapingshow.co.uk.
10.00: The design of natural stone paving, Michael Heap, CED
11.00: Pavement design and construction - CPD approved, David Burton, Stein-Tec
12.00: Practical decorative concrete solutions for architectural applications, Colin Dowds, Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK
13.00: An introduction to the use of sealants on all types of paving, Michael J Palin, Adseal
14.00: Panel discussion: balancing planting within hard landscaping schemes, APL's Jason Lock, BALI's Paul Cowell, Angus Cunningham of Scotscape, Wyevale Nurseries' Doug Reade, HW's Magda Ibrahim.
15.30: Grass and ground reinforcement solutions
10.00: The design of natural stone paving
11.00: Pavement design and construction - CPD approved
12.00: Practical decorative concrete solutions for architectural applications
13.00: An introduction to the use of sealants on all types of paving
14.00: Grass and ground reinforcement solutions.