Celebrating a Landscaping Project that Benefits Everyone

At Billy Goat, we’re always delighted to read about another successful landscaping project completed in the UK. As manufacturers of heavy-duty, no nonsense cleanup equipment for residential, commercial and municipal needs, we’re all for transforming a disused area of open space into something beneficial for the local community, and that’s exactly what the residents of Tunbridge Wells and Friends of Calverley Grounds have done.

The Calverley Adventure Grounds landscape project in Tunbridge Wells was completed in September 2017 after several years of trying to organise and get the plans off the ground. Jennette Emery-Wallis from LUC, an environmental consultancy, is an experienced landscape designer and a local resident of Tunbridge Wells. When the Friends of Calverley Grounds carried out a survey and determined that the majority of residents wanted to see a disused space turned into a playground, Jennette offered to sketch out a design for them pro bono to get the wheels in motion.

From then on, a small group of volunteers got together to take on the challenge of raising the required £225,000 budget to complete the playground. By creating and organising local events and campaigns, such as an Easter fun day, a Black-Tie auction and activities such as sponsored walks and raffles, as well as spreading the word to locals through social and traditional media, the target was easily reached.  Local companies also got involved to sponsor the project, and play manufacturer Timberplay donated much of the equipment needed for the playground.

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The design of the playground was carefully thought out to respect the history and nature of the site. Volunteers had a clear vision from the start and wanted the playground to become a local attraction for all, and not simply a square space with standard play equipment dotted around.

Once a spa town, it was decided that the playground should incorporate water in some way. An ‘S’ shaped sand pit snakes its way through the site to replicate a stream, with small water features and water tables added. Herbaceous planting in blues, purples and lots of grasses gives the feeling of being close to water and the site is split into different areas for both younger and older children.

We love this design project for several reasons; namely because it shows what is possible when a local community bands together to create something that benefits all. Secondly, because it demonstrates how a disused site can be transformed into a space that improves the look and feel of the local area, and offers a green, open place for all to enjoy. We have written before about the importance of pubic green areas in the UK, and we hope more local communities can be become inspired by stories like this one.

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Give the Grass a Spring Clean

Finally, the lighter mornings and warmer days are here – spring has sprung!

Work to get lawns and turf looking its best can begin once again – it’s time to get rid of moss and aerate the ground to promote strong spring growth.

Using a Power Rake can make light work of removing moss and thatch from turf. Its rugged design allows for the most demanding use, and its flails propel the machine forwards, making it self-propelled and less tiring to push.

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Thatch is a build-up of dead grass and debris, that can accumulate over the winter months, and forms a layer between new grass growth and the soil beneath. Removing it helps to improve the air flow around the blades of grass, and lets moisture find its way to the soil.

Aerating the ground is also important to improve drainage and reduce compaction. Over the winter months, rainfall and freezing conditions can cause the ground to become hard, stopping moisture and air from reaching the soil. Aeration is the process of adding lots of small holes into the ground, a few centimetres deep, to let in air and moisture. This can be done by hand simply with a garden fork, or, for large areas, the job can be done much more quickly with an Aerator, designed to cover large areas with the back-breaking fatigue of doing it without a machine.

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Billy Goat has a wide range of models, including Tow Behind Aerators for large properties, commercial and municipal use, and its Plugr range includes self-propelled options, ideal for both domestic gardeners with large lawns.

Whichever way you decide to spring clean your lawn this spring, the difference will be noticeable within a few weeks as the weather gets warmer and the grass turns greener!

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Do You Live Near One of Britain’s Best Parks?

Fields in Trust, a UK charity which currently safeguards more than 28,000 acres of green space and park land across the country, is campaigning for more local parks to be protected.

A recent survey carried out by Fields in Trust found that nearly one in five people have said their local park has come under threat from being lost or built on. Over two thirds said the loss of parks would be detrimental to childrens’ development, and nearly half of all respondents said that they would be less active if their local green space was lost.

To celebrate our public green spaces, the charity announced Stanley Park in Blackpool as winner of the 2017 UK’s Best Park awards. The competition allowed members of the public to nominate their local parks and vote for their favourite.

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Stanley Park is a Grade II heritage park which was designed in the 1920s by Thomas Mawson. It has plenty of features including a boating lake, a café, sports pitches and a bandstand. Not to mentioned immaculately maintained flower beds, borders, an Italian marble fountain and lawns.

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The park is maintained by a grounds crew of five people for Blackpool Council. Local residents, ‘the Friends of Stanley Park’ also pitch in to help as much as possible. The site is incredibly important to the community, as well as being considered the ‘lungs of the city’.

Not surprisingly, hundreds of UK parks were nominated for the awards across the country. Take a look at all the nominations and winners here to see if your local park made it to the list! Fields in Trust will also be running the competition again this year, so make sure you nominate your favourite and get voting!

Rejuvenating the Landscape After Winter

It’s the time of year when we can almost say goodbye to winter and work can once again begin to rejuvenate lawns, green spaces and pitches ready for the season ahead.

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When grass is dormant during the winter months, a build-up of thatch (dead grass) can restrict light, air and moisture from reaching the roots.

Scarifying is very beneficial lawn treatment which is most effective when done ‘little and often’, rather than when a thatch problem has been allowed to become troublesome.

Billy Goat’s range of petrol powered lawn scarifiers manoeuvre effortlessly around both small and larger properties, removing matted thatch from any type of turf. The Billy Goat Power Rake (Scarifier), with its rugged design, can withstand the most demanding use. The PR’s flails propel the machine forwards, making it self-propelled and minimising fatigue for the user.

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Repair

Lawns and pitches may well have developed patches during winter and these can be overseeded and brought back to life this season.

Billy’s Goat Series Push Overseeder conserves seed with Billy Goat’s exclusive Auto Drop feature by automatically starting or stopping seed drop with bale engagement. Capable of covering 13,000sq.ft/hr, this machine will make light work of any turf space!

Tidy Up

Leaves that fell in autumn and winter may have built up on property grounds and in public areas such as car parks. The leaves are likely to have become mixed up with other debris into damp, compacted piles, making areas look very untidy.

To tackle a big job like this, Billy Goat’s range of lawn and leaf vacuums are available for use in residential gardens, as well as any and all large-scale industrial, commercial and municipal clean-up projects. Self-propelled and designed for use on hard and soft surfaces, Billy Goat’s machines can pick up debris ranging from bottles, litter, branches and leaves.

 

Greening the Concrete Jungle

Happy New Year!

Here at Billy Goat we are looking forward to another year of providing quality machinery for all property clean up needs, be it residential, commercial or municipal.

Something we noticed in 2017, and we have written several blogs based on this topic, is that public green spaces in our cities and towns remain important – more important than ever, in fact – to the health and well-being of our communities.

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Not only are gardens getting smaller, but it is estimated that two million homes in Britain don’t have a garden, and by 2020, 10.5% of all homes will not have a garden at all.

Cities such as London, Manchester and Leeds are all undergoing vast construction projects, regeneration and growth. More and more people are choosing to live closer to cities, and local councils and authorities are under increasing pressure to meet housing targets each year.

With all this urbanization, public parks and green spaces can form a vital part of a community, and are a great way for friends and families with children to get outside, especially if they have limited garden space at home. Recent research from Fields in Trust has shown that there is a direct link between publicly accessible parks and green spaces and health and well-being, and recommends that people visit a local park or public garden at least once a week.

It is possible that public green spaces will eventually replace the private garden altogether, and so it remains essential that parks and green areas are included in future urban planning for the benefit of everybody.

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So here’s to 2018, and another year of cleaning up, landscaping and maintenance work to make sure our public spaces are accessible to everyone.

 

The Benefits of Green Spaces

Recent research from Fields in Trust has shown that there is a direct link between publicly accessible parks and green spaces and health and well-being.

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Their work, which involved new analysis of existing data from Defra and Natural England, and a new primary data sample, meant that Fields in Trust were able to establish a connection between an individual’s use of public green spaces and an improvement in their health and mental well-being.

It appears that, on average, the more frequently a person visits a park or green space, the better their well-being would be.

The new research also highlighted the importance of these green spaces, because they serve as ideal venues for community activities, and can help some individuals in their battle against loneliness.

The report recommends a ‘dosage’ for visiting green spaces, suggesting people should aim to go at least once a week.

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It has long been thought that gardening, nature and being around green space can be beneficial for you. It helps you relax, relieve stress and appreciate some peace and quiet. This report, however, is the first real evidence that has shown, on a national level, a direct link between green spaces and an increase in a person’s well-being.

As the population of this country continues to rise, more people are moving to cities, and more and more land is being used for housing, the need for parks and public gardens is all the more important. Despite the housing crisis, and our increasingly busy lifestyles, we can still incorporate green spaces into our concrete jungles for everyone’s benefit.

This concept was brilliantly demonstrated at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. The RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain’ garden showed how plants and greenery can be included in urban developments. We wrote a blog about this in July.

Not only can it brighten up otherwise grey buildings and city developments, but it can also offer a practical solution by choosing plants that are edible and/or soak up pollution. We love this inspiring idea and it reaffirms our passion for maintaining and caring for our publicly accessible green spaces, parks and landscapes.

 

Clearing the way

Autumn is here and that means parks, streets and gardens might be looking radiant in their red and golden colours, but fallen leaves can be a real pain for professional grounds teams!

Leaves that have fallen can create a slippery hazard once wet or icy, making them a potential health and safety risk in public places.

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They can also damage grass too. Once they cover an area of lawn, they can actually suffocate it, preventing precious sunlight and air from reaching the sward. This can damage any remaining grass growth for the year, and hinder its health for next spring. Not only that, piles of leaves can harbour pests and diseases and clog up drains and manhole covers.

It is possible to collect them in one fell swoop, along with general litter and other debris too! All you need is a reliable, outdoor vacuum from Billy Goat.

To meet the needs of both domestic and residential usage is the KV Series, which has both hand and self propelled models. With a 27” width and a five blade impeller with serrated edges, the KV Series maximises suction and tackles debris with ease. It is also available with an on-board 2” chipper to help clear branches too.

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For professional usage, there is the heavy duty MV Series that is ideal for larger properties, commercial sites and council applications. With a 29” width, MV Series models pick up all rubbish and debris from both hard surfaces and turf, with a 151 litre collection capacity that makes light work of clearing large areas.

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