Sherford New Town
In autumn 2015, YGS Landscapes were approached by Lavigne Lonsdale to discuss an interesting project. Sherford wanted their very own green wall. Indeed, the vision was to make it a symbolic talking point of the development for years to come. This was going to be the South’s Angel of the North!
Horticulturally, this was a very big challenge. The green wall or ‘bund’, would be South facing so water would be an issue. It was 10m high, built to a batter, using a reinforced mesh system retained by steel cages. Arguably not the best conditions for plants to survive!
Upon consultation with the site team, we identified the quantity and type of topsoil needed. We then needed to maximise the water retention within the bank so we incorporated over 200kg of water retention granules. Commonly known as swell gel, this product looks like salt/sugar granules when delivered but swells when water is introduced. It can then be a source for water for nearby plants for up to 5 years.
On top of this a bespoke irrigation system was designed which would allow a controlled water management.
Next… the plants. It is always prudent to observe known growth habits, preferences, likes and dislikes of all plants. However, they can also thrive in previously unthought-of conditions and equally struggle when all factors aren’t to their liking. The conditions on this bund were challenging for all plants, let alone ones that are theoretically adept at growing in such conditions.
The MDs of both YGS Landscapes and Lavigne Lonsdale, utilising over 100 combined years of plant knowledge, developed a ‘hit list’ of plants that would be suitable and also some experimental ideas. It was felt that this was always going to be a fluid development and after a couple of seasons, successes and failures would have surfaced and the makeup of the bund could be adopted accordingly.
Once the list was agreed, 26000 plants were sourced and arrived late July 2015.
The majority of the planting needed to be done from mobile platforms which in itself caused issues. The space within the platform meant that only so many plants could go up in every lift – it took a number of trips!
A team of three carried out the works over a 6 week period, methodically cutting the mesh, digging holes, planting the plants, back filling the holes and then tying up the mesh with a cable tie. All of these works were carried out during a relatively hot spell, so watering was constant.
The works were completed with a week to spare and the following wet autumn was a welcome relief!
We were very excited to be part of this creation and now still to be involved in the maintenance. This is a truly special project for Sherford and for Plymouth.
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From first sketch to final bloom, YGS Landscapes have planned, designed, installed
and maintained corporate, commercial and residential spaces in the South West since 1973. It’s what we do.