Part of the Harrogate conservation area, Craven Lodge on Victoria Avenue is an imposing double-fronted dwelling and was the first Victorian villa to be built on the site.
After many years of disuse, a full renovation is taking place to change the building from its recent office use, into a mix of offices and luxury apartments.
To increase the green credentials, and to add a further degree of privacy to the frontage, a 22-metre trench was planned to provide adequate shared rooting volume for four, 3-metre-high Hornbeam ‘Frans Fontaine’ trees. These stunning trees retain their columnar shape into maturity and are an excellent choice to provide a classic architectural shape and beautiful colour, especially in Autumn.
The new trees were positioned to break up and sit between parking spots at the front of the building. A solution was required that would enable the cars to be parked, without their weight compacting the soil in the tree pits.
Callum Bain-Mackay, lead designer from Grant Horticulture approached Green-tech for the best way to get the optimal rooting volume for the tree pits, within the tight space constraints of the property.
The original thought was to use Green-tech’s sandwich-construction TreeRaft, but the lack of space made this impractical. The new TreeParker Urban Tree Pit System was therefore suggested as this would involve less digging out laterally of the existing ground.
The initial landscape plan was for separate tree pits for each tree, but after review, Green-tech suggested one long trench. This offered two advantages over individual tree pits. Firstly, trees are quite happy to share space, so if we can provide them with one larger pit to share, the roots can borrow space from the other trees, in effect gaining more rooting volume. Secondly, by only excavating one trench, you can save time and labour costs over four individual pits.
The TreeParker system comprises rigid, modular units made from reinforced, recycled polypropylene. These units do a vital job in enabling the ground above a tree pit to be trafficked, supporting the paving above (up to 56t/m2), whilst at the same time protecting the soil below from compaction. This means that rather than having to use a fast-draining and low organic structural tree soil, we can use our specially blended, Green-tree Geocell topsoil, which is friable and organic, ideal for successful tree establishment.
The TreeParker units, although highly rigid, still provide 95% of their volume for rooting space. The heavy-duty, reinforced legs are available in various heights from the factory; 400, 600, 800mm, and 1, 1.2, 1.5m. This gives a previously unheard-of flexibility with depth options. It also enables the units, to easily straddle, or work around service pipes and lines.
Although TreeParker has been used extensively in high-profile projects throughout Europe Grant Horticulture is the first company in the UK to install the system which was launched by UK distributor Green-tech earlier this year.
As this was the first install Green-tech was on hand to advise Callum, Grant Horticulture’s Senior Designer, and his team on the installation process, and even offered hands-on help.
The team was very impressed with the speed and ease with which the units went in. Even when several unexpected service pipes were discovered running through the trench this didn’t pose a problem. The individual support legs of the units straddled the pipes, providing an easy workaround. The adjustability of the units is further enhanced by being able to be linked directly, with 50 or 75mm spacers, or even stand alone.
Green-tech supplied 40 tonnes of Geocell topsoil and Green-tree subsoil along with Mona Relief irrigation pipes and tree anchors systems.
Callum Bain-Mackay comments, “We have worked with Green-tech for several years, mainly for supplies, not anything quite as big as this. They were happy to spend time explaining the system, bringing units over for us to see first-hand, providing technical drawings, and generally being supportive, with nothing being too much trouble. TreeParker is definitely something we will use for future tree pits.”
Green-tech’s Specification Advisor Alasdair Innes adds, “TreeParker is an exciting development for the urban landscape market, and it was fantastic to have the first UK mainland job happen right on our doorstep here in Harrogate. It was a pleasure to work with a local landscape company such as Grant Horticulture, and a great bonus to be able to be involved with the installation. We’re looking forward to seeing the trees flourishing in the final refurbished property.”
When worksite visibility decreases, accident risks increase. ...
Husqvarna, a pioneering leader in sustainable green space...