Author Archive

Bespoke planters create an intimate, private outdoor space


Powder coated steel planters were commissioned for the refurbishment of a four storey townhouse in Hans Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1.

The bespoke steel planters create an intimate, private outdoor space on this fourth floor Knightsbridge terrace. Watch the video for more details about the project and the product specification.


Bespoke powder coated planters on



How to install Everedge Garden Rings



The EverEdge Garden Ring is perfect for protecting trees and shrubs from garden maintenance.

EverEdge supplies maintenance-free path, drive and lawn edging, manufactured in the West Midlands from recycled steel.

Compare EverEdge edging products  and all landscape edging products on

Making places with Marshalls


This video introduces Celestia and Metrolinia contemporary linear paving an ideal solution for urban public realm projects. Marshalls discusses how paving and hard landscaping can create a sense of place in the urban environment, for example reflect high-end retail schemes.

Marshalls on

Marshalls supplied paving for shared space scheme at Exhibition Road

Marshalls and the Athletes Village


Kym Jones, MD of Applied Landscape Design, talks about the delivery of the Athletes Village public realm and her work with Marshalls on the project.

Marshalls on

Applied Landscape Design

Producing street furniture in fibre-reinforced cement


IOTA’s Boulevard range of planters and street furniture is manufactured in Switzerland from a proprietary, patent-protected form of Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC).

FRC is a consolidated blend of cement, limestone, water, cellulose fibres, polyvinyl polymers and other inclusions; and the resulting composite is frostproof, UV-stable and highly impact resistant, and possesses an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.

The video below summarises the production process of IOTA’s Boulevard range of FRC street furniture.

Clicking the image below will take you to a photostory that illustrates the production process in more detail, with further useful links to IOTA’s product range.

IOTA FRC production

What makes a road?


There are vast differences in types of road – a hairpin bend on an alpine pass is (literally) a long way from a cobbled lane in an English country village. The materials and design vary widely, of course, depending on what is appropriate for the application.

Tarmac and asphalt
There’s an interesting look at the idea of the road itself on cycling blog the Inner Ring. From the earliest history of roads to today’s asphalt, there are several eye-catching points, including the comparison of $25,000 per mile “chip seal” or “tar and chip” method of construction with the $350,000 per mile cost of asphalt.

And the impact of the seasons is as keenly felt in Europe as it is in the UK:

Other parts of Europe see winter damage and subsidence. Some Alpine roads get smashed by coachloads of tourists and subzero temperatures, they are relaid every year. But away from the resorts the frost is left to crack and shatter the road.

Stelvio Pass.

Stelvio Pass by Damian Morys Foto, on Flickr

There are also some diverting thoughts out there on unpaved or unsealed surfaces. Where a road experiences low volumes of traffic, it has been found that maintenance costs for gravel roads often exceed the maintenance costs for paved or surface treated roads when traffic volumes exceed 200 vehicles per day.


Designing swales


Swales are incorporated into sustainable drainage systems for small developments or in rural locations, to provide a limited amount of stormwater or run-off storage. They are typically grassed, or can be vegetated with reeds or other aquatic plants that will absorb or treat contaminated water before discharge to a watercourse.


Lake Superior, a resource from Duluth, Minnesota, offers a swales toolkit that covers this drainage feature in some detail. (more…)

SUDS resources and publications for designers


Designing sustainable drainage systems, whether urban or rural, requires a flexible approach. As with most construction projects, there is no formula. Rather, it is down to the skill and creativity of the designer to come up with a solution to each problem.

As landscape architect Sam Shaw of Ian White Associates advised me: “there is no one definite way to do a sustainable drainage system, as the design will depend on site location, the capacity of the scheme overall, ground conditions and other site-specific factors. There are a range of solutions, from fully urbanised below-ground storage to open, purely rural designs”.

Rice Park (oblique aerial)


In England and Wales, the requirement for sustainable drainage systems is now part of byelaws and other legislation – in particular, the Building Regulations Part H, which requires that where practical surface water drainage from any building development be drained, preferably to a soakaway or infiltration system. If this is not possible then the next preferred option is to drain to a watercourse, with connection to a sewer as the last choice.


On graffiti in the urban space


The question of graffiti is an easy one for many working in council maintenance departments. It is a public nuisance, and to be prevented or removed as quickly as possible. This is an important requirement for many organisations, loking at the industry for anti-graffiti paints and coatings, and graffiti removal products and machinery.

The culture and politics of graffiti art is discussed at, but since bookmarking the site I can’t now view it, as our firewall blocks it due to ‘criminal activity’. Tagging and offensive slogans are an eyesore for most people, other those that write them, and it’s hard to argue against this sort of graffiti as anything other than criminal vandalism.

However, there is a grey area with graffiti artists who put considerable time, effort and materials into their pieces. The work below, painted on derelict buildings in Brick lane, arguably brightens up the area. Whether it is a pleasure or an eyesore is a matter of aesthetics and taste.

sweet toof / tek / cyclops

The public procure a public sculpture


I was amused to stumble across a post about a public statue of Robocop, from the Paul Verhoeven cult sci-fi movie, set in Detroit. It was funded by fans and enthusiasts who felt the character was integral to Detroit. It is based on an accurate restoration of the suit from the first film and will be cast in bronze.

The idea started as a joke tweet to the Detroit mayor but piqued the interest of fans and became a real fund-raising effort, surpassing a $50,000 target and blossoming into a serious project that has followed the conventional process for the approval of a sculpture being gifted to the city.