Snow, tax – and no plants! Stories from 2021

Snow, tax - and no plants! Stories from the first month of 2021

Well, we’ve had a busy first month for 2021 – not helped by some of the cold weather on odd days. We’ve managed to complete three different projects, one of which was quite
interesting: part of the project was, unusually, agreed with HMRC to be zero-rated. This project was designed to improve access for a disabled client; his partner provided a clear brief for her requirements and an initial design. We tweaked it slightly, for practicality (and also with the benefit of experience in knowing what works, and what doesn’t!) and negotiated with HMRC. The final saving was (of course) worth having – even agreeing that £5311.87 of cost is zero-rated means a saving of the £1062.27 that would otherwise have been added to the bill! If you can demonstrate that something like this could apply to your project, chat to us and we’ll see what we can do with our contact at HMRC. We’d actually worked on this garden a couple of years ago, but now accessibility needed to be incorporated to allow the client’s partner to be able to get into, and around, all parts of the garden and entertain family and friends.


On a different project, we worked on a large driveway – around 180m 2 – with feature circles incorporated into an area at the back of the drive where it meets the garden. This allows our client to use that part for entertaining – and also for better and cleaner access.


Our designer Ian, at AGI Landscapes, had a client who had some specific
needs; Ian had worked with him to work out a basic design sketch to
meet the available budget, and we installed the hard landscaping. It’s
not the best time, the depths of winter, to be planting; however Travis,
our own expert in all matters horticultural – is providing them with a
designer planting plan and we will be returning to handle all of the
planting in the (hopefully warmer!) spring.



As you’d expect, projects have taken longer than usual – but quality has
not been sacrificed. We recognise and plan for delays, ensuring that we
always have a margin for a short overrun at this time of year and there
were around 4 days where we decided it just wasn't sensible or practical
to work without risking quality – so we didn't.

We have been covering materials, the ground and all work installed every night with hessian to
protect it from the cold – as well as using frost-proofer in mortar mixes every day. MOT sub-base
material (a special blend of substrate to give a quality surface afterwards) is used on all our projects
as standard and this frost-proof sub-base material helps allow us to keep working through the colder
months. It’s broadly equivalent to putting a quality underlay under an expensive carpet: you can
omit it, or use a cheap one, but the expensive surface would quickly wear and degrade. It adds a
small amount to cost and time, but massively repays the outlay in long-term life.
We have a good pipeline of work for the next few months – and you may have seen we’re taking on
more staff to help us manage some of the specialist aspects of our work. If you could be interested in a no-obligation chat about your project, do get in touch, phone Louise on 01522 708555 or email