This summer has seen Kebur scoop a coveted Silver Award at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, our first year being involved in a show garden. The garden, A Place to Meet, was designed by Cherry Carmen for the landscape industry body, the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL). As well as supplying the hard landscaping materials for the project, our professional team of installers also led the build, with 18 APL member companies involved.
We talked to Craig Deeley, our Contracts Manager, who led the build, to reflect on the experience…
What materials did you use?
We worked with Cherry Carmen on a design that would demonstrate excellence in landscaping skills and highlight some different ways of using natural stone including a raised patio, plunge pool and wildlife pond. As we were keen to use some of our new contemporary natural stone, Cherry’s idea was to show how our Black Granite and Pearl White Sandstone could be softened with naturalistic planting.
How was the experience?
Manic! I found it really positive from a personal point of view. It’s great to see how designers use planting schemes to complement hard landscaping. You have to put your life on hold the whole time you’re there. It was realistically an 8-week project so we worked 12-14 hour days for 17 days to get it done. There was very little time at home! I loved doing it though and would love to do it again.
What were the highlights?
Coming together with other talented members of the Association of Professional Landscapers to build the garden was a real highlight. It meant so much more was possible than if we’d worked on our own. Our garden was referred to as the happiest on site.
Having other landscaping businesses around us with years of show garden experience was also really inspiring. Everyone helps each other out; for example, Jake Catling who’d been working on the RHS Back to Nature Garden with the Duchess of Cambridge didn’t hesitate to lend us a hand planting our large trees.
What did you learn?
I learnt a lot about the logistics of working alongside a group of experienced contractors. Different people were there every day, each with their own skills and ways of doing things. Project managing the team on a small site wasn’t easy. To make sure everything ran smoothly, we needed to think carefully about how best to use the skills we had and make sure all the materials and machinery were on hand when we needed them.
Matt and the labourers, Cameron and Patrick, more than rose to the challenge and their ability to run a site was great. In reality some aspects of the build were probably more robust than they actually needed to be for a show garden. It was built to last as all our projects are.
What were you most proud of?
The judges recognised the construction as being a really high standard, which I’m really proud of, especially for our first show garden. It was a demanding build to undertake in a short time. We had to make the plunge pool really strong as it held over 7000 gallons of water. The slightest weakness could have resulted in a major leak! And it wasn’t just those on site, but those back at Kebur Landscape Centre who rallied round every day to make it happen.
Would you do it again?
With such a focused effort, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. And quite surreal this week going back to site to return it to an empty plot. You’ve created something absolutely stunning and then it’s gone. But I’d do it again in a flash. It’s been a really amazing experience.