Rock musician-turned landscape gardener wins UK's Best Small Business of the Year accolade

St Albans-based Lanwarne Landscapes first won the Micro Business of the Year category in the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Worldpay Awards before going on to beat hundreds to the UK's Best Small Business of the Year trophy.

James Lanwarne (front) with his team
James Lanwarne (front) with his team

Founder James Lanwarne said: "To win big at such a high profile ceremony and to beat such an impressive line-up of companies for the overall award win is quite overwhelming.

"For years our industry has struggling to be recognised as professional. We beat nearly 1,000 UK businesses, a complete variety. I think this is a turning point for the horticulture industry."

When James Lanwarne’s band Choker was dropped by its label he completed an apprenticeship before establishing Landwarne Landscapes in 2003.

The company started off completing small jobs - fencing, patios and ponds before Lanwarne enlisted the help of a garden designer and got himself qualified in landscape design and horticulture. He expanded his company’s offering to include landscape and garden design, construction, horticulture and consultancy.

When the recession hit the order book Lanwarne saw the opportunity to target homeowners who were unable to move home but who were becoming more interested in DIY in an attempt to improve their current living space.

Lanwarne joined forces with Burston, a local garden centre to offer free monthly design consultancy clinics. This saw the job book grow and the type of commissions become more elaborate. Last year he won the Nectar Business Tradesperson of the Year 2013.

The award judges said that Lanwarne Landscapes had a ‘stand out from the crowd’ approach and were impressed by the company’s ability to grow its net profit by nearly 50 per cent in the last financial year, to remain adaptable to market and customer requirements and to establish new revenue streams.

FSB (Member Services) chairman Carol Undy said: "Small businesses are what make Britain great. They play a vital role in supporting the UK economy and James Lanwarne is a prime example of someone who has followed their dream and turned their passion into a thriving business.

"Lanwarne Landscapes demonstrates the successes that can be reaped, even in times of economic difficulty, when you marry the right product and price with the right service delivery." 

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