Landscaping and Landscaping Requirements
If you are new to landscaping and would like to know more about the subject, we have outlined a definition and some of the key points that might be useful to the interested person. If you are looking to study landscaping or thinking about working in this sector then this information is just a taster of the numerous variations found within this part of the construction and grounds maintenance industry. We have also indicated the different roles and where our role fits in within the landscaping industry.
Landscaping – An Explanation
The idea of landscaping is to improve the aesthetic appearance of an area, ranging from a large open space to a small plot of land / garden, by changing its contours, adding features and planting a range of trees and shrubs.
There are two types of landscaping, hard and soft. This is used to describe the type of features being added to the site.
Hard landscaping is anything from paving stones and fountain to fencing materials. These features are what help to form the layout and structure in which the soft landscaping elements can grow and establish.
Some Examples of Hard Landscaping include:
- Paved Areas, Timber, Concrete or Brick Edging and Ponds & Water Features.
In contrast to the hard landscaping, the softening of the landscape – soft landscaping – is the job of plants and trees placed into the chosen area. This can be anything from grass seeding, the laying of turf and the placing of the surrounding trees and shrubs and flower beds. It can even be the placing of a single species of tree to an open area filled with a sea of colours from a soil specific wildflower mix.
What can be classed as a Soft Landscaping Product?
At Phoenix Amenity Supplies Ltd, we predominantly sell soft landscaping products.Typical soft landscaping products include: tree planting requisites, native plugs, plants and seed, grass seed and seed to create wildflower areas and meadows, native spring and summer bulbs, tree whips, pre-planted coir, wetland plugs, reeds, wildflower turf, mulches, coir and jute, peat and bark, rock rolls and wildlife protection items.
Other Elements of the Soft Landscaping Process
Understanding the soil which you have to work with when landscaping is as important as the design. The soil that is being worked, will dictate the species of plants and shrubs which will survive and thrive and which will fail to grow. By knowing the type of soil you have to work with, whether it is sandy, clay, loam, peat or chalk will help you in choosing the right plants for the area.
Knowing The Soil Types
- Clay soils are heavy, high in nutrients, wet and cold in winter and baked dry in summer
- Sandy soils are light, dry, warm, low in nutrients and often acidic
- Silt soils are fertile, light but moisture-retentive, and easily compacted
- Loams are mixtures of clay, sand and silt that avoid the extremes of each type
- Peat soils are very high in organic matter and moisture
- Chalky soils are very alkaline and may be light or heavy
Planning and The Planting Scheme
Every soft landscaping project will involve the creation of a planting scheme as well as a plan of the overall landscape. The soil types, positioning of the plants in relation to the sun, wind, shade and natural or planned features will be carefully looked at by the designer or landscaper.
Roles Within the Landscaping Sector
There are numerous roles and not all roles are clear within the field of landscaping. Normally a large commercial project will involve the design and consultation work of a Landscape Architect who may employ or direct the work of a Landscape Contractor to undertake the work. Some of that work may involve a hard landscape contractor, excavating operators and other structural specialists before the soft landscaping or landscape gardeners come into the project.
Sometimes smaller projects or domestic projects may involve a Garden Designer who may do the work themselves or employ a Landscape Gardener or utilise a team of experts. There are a number of specialist who may be consulted on a large or a small project. These may include a Plant Specialist, or Horticulturist, an arborist for the tree work or an Ecologist to give advice on plant species or wildlife matters may need to be consulted. There are also roof garden specialists, pond specialists, native wild plant specialists – any of these specialisms may come into the project.
How Does Phoenix Amenity Supplies Fit in to the Landscaping Industry?
With more than 10 years of supplying products to the landscaping industry, we have an expert knowledge of the type of materials and the products used by landscapers. The vast majority of the products we supply can be defined as soft landscaping products.
Our Role in the Landscaping Sector
At Phoenix Amenity Supplies we are often consulted when the scheme requires an area of grass seeding or wildflowers to be seeded or planted as plug plants. We usually need to consider what the designer or landscaper has in mind for the area as well as the uses, general appearance required, soil types and climatic variations.
When choosing the right seed mix to finish an area, the type of seed can make a huge but often overlooked difference to the completed project. That is why we have developed our knowledge over years of working within the landscaping field to the point where we can confidently predict an outcome as long as the guidelines for sowing/planting and maintenance have been met. We know the benefits of mixing particular grass seeds together. By mixing the seeds, you have created a bio-diverse situation where the grass seed has a greater chance of survival as multiple species and multiple cultivars will help with disease resistance in the sward, as not all the cultivars from the species will be susceptible to the same disease / type of disease, conditions etc.
One example is that by mixing fine leaved grasses; such as fescues and bent grass with rye grass, will help to give wear tolerance to the grass, while maintaining a good appearance, as the fine leaved grasses will fill in the gaps and provide a good base coverage.This is where we know that we have the expertise necessary to make a difference to a project.
Below are links to our products to help with your Soft Landscaping needs: