Here at Thirteen Homes we are passionate about looking after the environment, so we caught up with John Woods, our Environmental Specialist who was responsible for the design and execution of the landscaping at our Howards Green development.
We wanted to learn more about the considerations that were made, the reasoning behind certain plants and also what simple tips he could offer to anyone who would like to start being more environmentally friendly in their garden landscaping as well as every day life.
So, we pulled together a list of questions to ask John and here is what we learnt...
- Can you talk us through what was required in terms of landscaping at Howards, Green and what initial thoughts and ideas you had?
Howards Green required landscaping across three show homes, both front and back gardens. We needed something welcoming and bright for customers but also effective in terms of being environmentally friendly and manageable over the seasons.
There are many different aspects to Howards Green, in that there are areas that get full sun and others are in a lot of shade, spread across a large area, so we decided on a lot of traditional planting and some great tree species.
In terms of ideas, we wanted to do an eastern feel in one of the show home gardens, using a lot of maple and bamboo as the main plants. We also wanted to create something very bespoke and that's where the idea of the seating and patio area came from.
2. Particularly from an environmental standpoint, what considerations did you make and how were these implemented?
As well as easy maintenance, we wanted to make sure all plants were environment and wildlife friendly, so as mentioned previously we used some great tree species as well as bee and insect friendly plants and we also used different ranges of stones to show case each property - lots of different elements that all work and mix really well together.
When it came to implementation, we used all natural materials and locally sourced plants. Even though one of the gardens has more of an Asian theme, all of the plants are UK friendly meaning they will always be happy in our North East climate!
3. Are there any plans to change or update the landscaping at Howards Green as the seasons change?
No, when we landscape an area we need to consider the future and so we needed to get it right first time and not have to expand on resource. An example is that we have used all drought tolerant plants which will establish themselves and require less care and attention.
Moving forward and as Howards Green develops, I would like to add more trees as they create high nature corridors which allow birds to travel through housing estates safely rather than around them.
4. What advice would you give to customers who are wanting to consider the environment and wildlife in their garden landscaping?
We all need to play our part where the environment is concerned and that is working alongside the wildlife, therefore we always need to consider the types of plants and trees that offer a food source, pollinators and habitat to the wildlife around us.
Plant wildflowers, place habitat boxes and bug friendly pods, another option is a small pond and consider drought tolerant plants as there is no doubt that climate change is happening and even though we need to act now and try and slow this down, ultimately this will take a long time to get right.
5. Do you have any quick and simple tips that people can implement in their homes/gardens that can help the environment and wildlife?
Consider natural planting, pollinating plants and stay with native plants where possible, offer up habitat boxes – leave areas to grow a little wilder than normal. Always recycle where you can, its far easier to do now with local authorities on board. Stand against fly tipping and always be mindful of your litter – take it home and bin it. Go out and get to know your local area, help and support local nature reserves. Feed the birds and keep a diary of the wildlife that visits your garden. Cut a hole in the base of the fence lines to open up access for hedgehogs.
6. What’s your favourite tree/plant/flower and why?
My favourite tree is the silver birch a UK native tree with its olive-green leaf and white bark – they really stand out, it was probably the tree, because of its silvery white bark that captured my attention when I was younger.
I love Lavender, it looks great smell fabulous and is also a great pollinator (the bees love this plant too).
There are so many flowers that come to mind that I cherish but one that stands out is the Freesia – comes in many different pastel and striking colours and though looks very delicate its really quite tough and it smells wonderful.
Did you know your new garden at Howards Green will come fully turfed? You could even get your garden landscaped by John himself!