‘Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.’ (Frank Lloyd Wright)
We can undertake an initial visit to ascertain the exact extent of a sites environmental potential and identify important features which should be retained. This could, if required include an ecological appraisal to survey existing habitats and identify any further investigations that may be required before a planning application could be submitted. Every area of the site is explored, with photographs being taken and in some instances soil samples collected. Where appropriate some site history investigation is carried out in order to both inform future design development and reveal any potential risks (eg. concealed mineshafts).
Early involvement in a project allows us to explore how proposed developments can be sensitively integrated into their environment. This results in a more attractive landscape setting being created as well as in some instances resulting in lower overall construction and operating costs. Outline proposals formulated by ourselves seek to incorporate all important site features, protect identified key views, provide sufficient space for a fully integrated sustainable drainage (SUDS) scheme and establish pedestrian links with surrounding footpath networks. In the case of some developments the carrying out of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) will be an integral part of helping to assist which site configuration to take forward.
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIA’s) are used in consideration of proposed developments and are typically commissioned by a client at the request of the local planning authority. The evidence may be presented in a stand-alone report or included in an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). LVIA’s are prepared in line with the 3rd edition Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA) published by the Landscape Institute and include baseline studies, details of proposed development, description of the likely landscape and visual effects, mitigation and residual effects. We are also able to produce high quality photomontages and visualisations in order to inform and support the findings of the LVIA.
Our typical service runs from the production of an initial sketch design layout (usually with associated supporting images) through to detailed design, contract drawings, schedules of works, a specification, and where appropriate the undertaking of contract administration on behalf of the client. For larger green infrastructure type projects, masterplans would be prepared focusing on the development of a site’s intrinsic character whilst ensuring that the resulting landscape design is as multi-functional and accessible as possible. Other areas of related expertise include: community engagement, project management, land reclamation, natural play, design for outdoor recreation, incorporation of landart and the planning of sculpture trails.
This could include the design and construction of a green/brown roof, excavation of a new pond / wetland, creation of wildflower meadows or the planting of hedgerows and new areas of woodland. New Features such as these help both in the securing of planning approval and gaining the support of the surrounding community for a particular development as well as creating more habitable places for people and wildlife.
We can assist with the layout / detailed design and species composition of new woodlands which could range from the corner of a field to a complex covering many hectares. Strategically placed belts or blocks of trees can help integrate a development into its setting, provide shelter from adverse weather conditions, assist in cooling buildings in summer, intercept water flows, provide corridors for wildlife and create enormously therapeutic environments for people. For existing woodlands advice can be provided in relation to sensitive incorporation of car parking / other access improvements, siting of tourist accommodation and the development of related recreational facilities. A particular specialism is looking at adapting new and existing woodlands to both climate change and the ever increasing number of tree diseases. Where appropriate, clients can be assisted with the submission of Countryside Stewardship applications.
Usually based on the results of an ecological appraisal (or phase 1 survey produced by others) and a detailed brief from the client these can make recommendations for the protection or enhancement of existing ecological features, as well as be focused on the achievement of broader landscape objectives. They can range from a relatively simple drawing to an extremely detailed report with associated illustrations and appendices. The timescales dealt with by these plans usually vary between five to ten years.
Arboricultural Surveys and Assessments
These are carried out in accordance with Trees in Relation to Construction (BS5837) and in the case of larger developments will include an arboricultural impact assessment. Advice can also be provided in relation to the retention, protection and management of individual trees.