Olympic Park created 'what was said on the tin'

Landscape architect says completed Olympic park site is 'spookily' faithful to the original vision.

The specification for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was so "spookily" inch-perfect the completed landscape looked almost exactly like the early computerised images, according to the landscape architect overseeing its evolution.

Dr Phil Askew said: "The weird and spooky thing about the completed park is it turned out to be true to the original vision, which is a testament to the great design work and specification.

"We wanted to build it once and once only. What we created was pretty much what was said on the tin."

Speaking at a PlantNetwork conference at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Dr Askew added: "The park became the hero of the whole place and people were surprised by what they found."

Acting director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden Dr Tim Upson agreed. He described the park as the "unsung hero of the Olympics".

The site, which used to boast Europe's largest fridge mountain and scrap cars, was turned into a rolling "modern picturesque" landscape that is sculptural but with naturalistic planting. Hargreaves Associates and LDA Design led the project.

Dr Askew, who worked for the Olympic Delivery Authority and is now project sponsor for the London Legacy Development Corporation, said the size of the park in summer 2014 will be double what it was for the 2012 Olympics. Half of this is brownfield land, with green roofs, wetland spaces and grasslands "plugged" into the site to create interesting places for visitors.

He said: "We wanted the right plants for the right places and the right soil. We grew wetland plants on matting to put in place like a jigsaw. Trial plots helped us finesse a 7ha wild flower meadow, one of the largest pre-sown meadows ever."

Ten-year strategy

"As a planning requirement, we had to do a 10-year management and maintenance strategy for the park, and we continue to refine it. This is a very different type of park, with a variety of biodiverse areas - it is dynamic, not static, so needs a different approach than simply cutting grass and hedges because people interact with the landscape."

Dr Phil Askew, project sponsor for parklands and public realm, London Legacy Development Corporation

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - regulations and legislative requirements underline the professional status of landscape contractors and gardeners

Sargent's solutions - regulations and legislative requirements underline the professional status of landscape contractors and gardeners

Regulations benefit individual gardeners and landscapers as well as the wider industry, Alan Sargent explains.



Customers do not often know about the different leaf colours and shapes offered by hollies, Miranda Kimberley reports.



These heralds of spring are highly suited to being planted in tree circles, grass and rock gardens, says Miranda Kimberley.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Horticulture Week Top 50 Landscape and maintenance contractors

See our exclusive ranking of landscape and maintenance contractors by annual turnover. 

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Products & Kit Resources