Sargent sets out a bold vision on the future for landscape

Alan Sargent - image: HW
Alan Sargent - image: HW
Landscape professionals that team up to pool skills, host "mini Hampton Court flower shows" and engage more with local communities will beat the big practices to high-profile commissions, reckons one of the UK’s most respected experts.

Consultant, designer and former head gardener Alan Sargent told a seminar yesterday, 17 July, said he "advocated a new type of business operation that would become a powerful marketing driving force for the companies involved" in domestic projects.

"My vision for the future is to have a group of companies, maybe three to five," he told the ‘cluster’ meeting of the Association of Professional Landscapers in Arundel, West Sussex. "This would not be a collective or a cartel, but groups working together as one team."

By "formalising" such a set up and hiring village or town halls, five or so practices would retain separate identities but share their skills. Such mini flower shows could promote skills like flint and dry-stone walling, thatching, irrigation, carpentry and moon-gate construction.

"A couple of years ago I got together with a small but select team of specialists and snitched a £1m job for a famous Arab from all the competition: the team we put together was so good nobody could come near us because we were that skilled.

"If you have skills you can swap labour to create a dream team; you can promote yourselves in a way you could never do as an individual company. An individual promoting yourself can appear big headed but get together with others and you have something that looks good and is very powerful."

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