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Can't agree, Phil. A garden needs balance between hard landscaping and planting and I think the emphasis is often too much on the hard materials. Look at some of the conceptual gardens at Hampton Court. There is a difference between an outdoor space and a garden, and by the sound of it Mr Rutherfoord wants to emphasise the Garden in Garden Designer. I hope he succeeds.

I think 'balance' is the key here Helen but Charles Rutherfoord doesn't really talk about balance, his comments are clear (at least to me) that there is too much hard landscaping.

I can't agree with that and probably more importantly it's the client that ultimately decides. If its going to be the SGDs policy, going forward, to push plants then they must also increase the emphasis on maintenance; something Rutherfoord didn't mention either.

If I think about the gardens,( and not the industry- as I am sure Rutherfroord did not try to harm anyone)Many of new projects around us got remade the garden into 99% or even 100% hard scape.

Personally, I think, even easy care gardens can have room for more easy care plants in it- avoiding creating just another room.

The UK was known around the world as nation of gardeners, Modern life change the style of many people- and that is ok- but it could be great if in many of the beautiful hardscape design will have just few more plants. I must add that I am saying something very general here, and of course you can find all sort of gardens in the UK even today.

I heard from a friend that is a really good hardscaper saying that his knowledge about plants is nearly none and he think it ios hard to find many people that are good hardscapers and plants experts.

I agree with Rutherford personally, but it's possibly a bit naughty to admit it in the role he has

Charles Rutherfoord's own garden was featured on Gardeners' World http://www.landscapejuicenetwork.com/forum/topics/charles-rutherfoord-garden-clapham-common-gardeners-world

I agree with Rutherford--I believe our first priority should be enhancing and helping biodiversity, whilst still pleasing the client. That means as many layers of plants, real soil and ecosystems instead of lots of stone and decking. The issues of species extinction and climate change are more important in the medium and long term. Now is time to adapt our designs in a sustainable direction--and we can still make a living. Personally, I use Grasscrete and recycled materials in my designs, and lots of ground cover planting under shrubs and trees. I think hard landscaping companies will need to be proactive in adapting to new needs (more living nature)and find ways of adding value through, for example, constructing green walls and roofs, garden joinery for growing plants and similar. There's still plenty of work out there, but IMHO more sensitivity to the needs of creatures and plants is long overdue!

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