By Michael John McGarr
Although we’ve still been working hard in our office this week, it’s nice to take a little time to think about how much we’ve achieved in 2016. There’s been a lot of change and new direction this year and we’ve really laid the foundations for growing our business next year, with a very clear strategy.
So here’s our round up of 2016, with some thoughts about what we’re doing in 2017.
Winning the APL awards 2016
Back in March this year, we won an APL commendation for a garden we designed and landscaped in Wigan, in the under £20,000 category. This ultra-contemporary garden featured our trademark dining area, under a cantilevered pergola for a sense of privacy and occasion.
With buxus spheres and multi-stem birch trees, the planting scheme and alternative paving and gravel surfaces gave way to a very clean minimalist and modern garden design.
BBC Gardeners’ World Live show in June
The first of our two show gardens this year, our BBC Gardeners’ World Live APL Avenue Garden was called Eat and Shelter. The simple yet effective name choice described the essence of the garden, which was to provide food and shelter for both humans and the wildlife that also inhabits the garden.
Prestigious judge Andrew Fisher Tomlin really liked both our concept and execution, and we were awarded a gold award and best construction in show, which especially made our head of landscape Rob and his team incredibly proud.
Another silver award at RHS Tatton in July
And just two weeks later, we were exhibiting at RHS Tatton – for the second time. Doing two show gardens in two months really put both Rob and I, as well as our team of workers, to the ultimate test. A week of torrential rain before Tatton’s Press Day really made our work incredibly tough, but the launch day was one of the hottest days of the year. We won our second silver medal at Tatton for our garden From Hall to Home, which gave a very contemporary twist to a classic Capability Brown style design.
Business re-brand and new website launch
As if putting ourselves through designing and installing two show gardens in the summer wasn’t enough, we were also organising a business re-brand and new website at the same time! Our new website went live in September and it’s already made a huge difference in how we communicate our ethos and business personality to our clients.
Winning a contract with Derian House
We have worked with children’s hospice Derian House for some years, and they were kind enough to sponsor our RHS Tatton Show Garden this year. They then put out a tender for a completely re-designed garden area at their hospice in Chorley, which we were incredibly pleased to win. Work will begin on this next year, and we will share the final designs and news as soon as we can.
Being shortlisted for the APL awards 2017
In November we found that another one of our garden designs had been shortlisted for the 2017 APL Awards in the hard landscaping category. The garden submitted for this award is in Wigan for a client whose brief was to create a very chic outdoor area, with different spaces for dining, with plenty of edible planting. Although a low maintenance garden, there will be lots of pops of colour to come in the spring from tulips and other gorgeously bright flowers we’ve planted.
Designing our show garden for RHS Tatton 2017
Our final job for 2016 is to begin designing our show garden for RHS Tatton, as well as starting conversations with sponsors and suppliers. With it being our third year at the Cheshire show, we very much feel a part of event now and are really looking forward to designing a garden that will surprise, delight and really wow visitors and the judges – and of course, go after that elusive gold medal!
In 2016, we also moved into our new office and studio in Wigan, and have just finished decorating it to our taste. This is now the perfect place for us to meet clients and introduce them to our work and our team. The image above is a panoramic image of our office.
Getting booked up
Everyone thinks that garden designers and landscapes don’t really work over the winter – but they couldn’t be more wrong. We work outdoors all year round and actually always get a wave of enquiries right after New Year when people are ready for a change and start to think about the summer.
However, we’re currently completely booked up now until April so please do give us a call or drop us an email quickly if you are thinking about creating a fabulous new outdoor space ready for summer.
Happy New Year everyone – we’ll see you in 2017!