Saturday, July 20, 2024
SmartPave from Strol prevents aggregate migration on lightly trafficked paths with geofabric already bonded on the underside
Landscape

Landscape Show stays on track at Sandown

By John Fitzsimmons

Despite sunshine and an absence of rain that could have kept many landscapers on-site, there were still plenty who travelled across Melbourne and from further afield to Landscaping Victoria’s 2024 Landscape Show at Sandown Park.

This event’s attendee profile appears to be well established – landscape constructors and installers making up the bulk, complemented by designers, greenlife and allied industry people, and a significant number of apprentices, trainees and students in landscaping and related fields. The exhibitor spectrum seems to be broadening with more greenlife suppliers and a greater variety of landscaping input suppliers than last year.

The Landscape Show is a valuable annual event to network with peers, and keep up to date with developments and trends
The Landscape Show is a valuable annual event to network with peers, and keep up to date with developments and trends
Compact transporters can make on-site movement and delivery of bulk materials easier
Compact transporters can make on-site movement and delivery of bulk materials easier

While not strictly ‘landscaping’, the shed and building extension market space (think pergolas, verandas, gazebo, studios and pods etc.) seems to be getting busier and more competitive. Beyond the traditional functional purpose there appears to be growth in the offering of more aesthetic ‘sheds’ as outdoor lifestyle extensions or venues, and even studios and workrooms in line with the work from home trend. An example at Sandown was Queensland-based Stilla presenting two easily assembled buildings – the Ashgrove 8×4 and a 12×8 studio. In contrast to the more common steel sheds these structures utilise materials including cedar and pre-finished Weathertex, and Colorbond® roofing. Notably, Stilla is currently marketing through a couple of major garden centres in Melbourne.

The landscaping industry has long been a highly innovative sector – in design styles, materials and methods. Needs and challenges may be perennial but there are always new solutions and options to deliver on-trend colours and finishes, or save construction time or input costs.

Bobby Densa of Southern Geosynthetics with the iglube system
Bobby Densa of Southern Geosynthetics with the iglube system
Merlo's CINGO range can accept various attachments for a wide range of tasks
Merlo’s CINGO range can accept various attachments for a wide range of tasks

For example, iglube is a patented modular building system that uses interlocking engineered plastic panels to form high strength modules. Modules can be installed as continuous, inter-connecting or independent combinations. Applications include underground water storage and management, as well as structural soil support.

iglube’s concept combines the dome shape of an igloo with the versatile cube shape – hence the name. It results in strength to support foot or vehicle traffic and certain structures.

Similarly, plastic Spider Ties have emerged as a highly versatile concrete forming system allowing the construction of retaining walls, pools, foundations, even building construction, along straight or curved lines quite readily. An assembly of spider ties is simply assembled, even by unskilled labour, along the desired line and to the desired height.  Flexible sheets are then temporarily fixed to both sides of the Spider Tie ‘wall’ and concrete poured in.

While on the subject of saving labour, when constructing gravel or pebble paths and driveways it makes sense to install the stones over a layer of permeable paving to prevent movement (‘aggregate migration’) and rain scouring. Strol offers PebbleLock® and SurePave® as examples for heavy traffic applications. But its partner for lighter traffic paths – pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs for example, is the company’s residential grade SmartPave. This one has geo-fabric already bonded on the base which readily deletes a common step in the path construction process.

Stilla introduced attractive and versatile options in the growing outbuilding space
Stilla introduced attractive and versatile options in the growing outbuilding space

Horticulturists and landscapers already know the applications and benefits of trellising and screening in various forms. An innovation in this direction seen at Sandown was Archbar 3D climbing trellis. This is a 3-dimensional trellis mesh that can be used indoors or out, attached to walls or uprights, or installed freestanding. Standard panel dimensions are 2233mm x 1220mm consisting of 50mm x 50mm apertured grids with 50mm depth between front and rear mesh sections. (*custom formats may be possible depending on order volumes). The design offers enhanced climbing plant support and could reduce the need for securing plants as they mature.

Pots and planters are hugely versatile in garden design and landscaping, especially when the client or the situation calls for something a bit more individual or purpose-built. Melbourne-based Viking Plastics can fabricate and supply custom-made planters and wicking beds for indoor or outdoor settings and site-specific raingardens. For public sector projects this is valuable when designing with Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policies in mind. Much use is made of Paneltim®, a 50mm thick dual skin sandwich panel featuring internal cross ribs for light weight, strength and rigidity.

There is a special niche in landscaping which seems to be quietly gaining more overdue recognition – garden lighting. There are some well established specialists in this category such as Gardens At Night who combine both design, manufacture and installation. Garden lighting is also sometimes found in the extended catalogues of irrigation specialists where it is a comfortable fit with similar installation processes – controls, cabling, fitting off etc. One exhibitor at the Landscape Show who packages all that is sunshoweronline.com.au – a “home for irrigation, lighting and more”.

Spider Ties are a versatile concrete forming system allowing the construction of retaining walls, pools and foundations along straight or curved lines
Spider Ties are a versatile concrete forming system allowing the construction of retaining walls, pools and foundations along straight or curved lines

Lastly, let’s consider the heavier equipment end of landscape installation. After all, re-forming the terrain, maintaining vegetation and managing bulk materials are often part of projects, especially on sub-industrial scale sites where smaller, manoeuvrable machines are favoured. When you add versatility, the appeal compounds quickly – consider the rapid rise of battery-powered power tools and interchangeable ‘skins’. Over the last couple of years, Supergroups’ display of Merlo equipment at the Landscape Show has attracted interest, in particular the CINGO range. Small tracked vehicles with a rear standing operator position, these machines can be fitted (*depending on Series and spec.) with attachments for a wide range of tasks including slashing, mulching, material/soil transport and handling, and posthole boring. These machines are also the result of decades of development and innovation in hydraulics, system control and drive systems. They can boost productivity and improve worker safety while reducing physical effort.

In summary

Whether you are immersed in the landscape industry, just entering it or have a partial interest in the sector as a supplier or contractor, the Landscape Show has ‘something for everyone’ and is a valuable annual event to network with peers, and keep up-to-date with developments and trends in products, systems and technologies. The educational sessions on a wide range of relevant subjects are an added bonus.

All images supplied by John Fitzsimmons

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