The annual BALI Awards are the largest landscaping awards in Europe.

The National Landscape Awards offers a distinguished platform for industry professionals to spotlight and enhance their businesses, celebrating noteworthy achievements within and beyond the industry.

Parliament Square Gardens is an Historic England, Grade II listed Park & Garden, located near the Palace of Westminster UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are well used throughout the year, providing a quiet space to rest for the thousands of international tourists visiting the area every week, as well as gathering space for citizens exercising their democratic right to peaceful protest in close proximity to where our laws are made. The gardens also host a number of statues depicting prime ministers and high-profile political figures, including Winston Churchill, Millicent Fawcett, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and many others. The London Underground runs directly below the gardens, near to the surface, and radiates heat into the soil above. Due to the hot weather and hose pipe ban of summer 2022 and with regular high footfall, the central lawn of Parliament Square Gardens had struggled to recover in autumn.

It was clear that significant works were required to restore the lawns and planting beds at Parliament Square Gardens. Therefore, we worked with the client to fully understand the brief of delivering a high-profile project, to high environmental standards, on a heritage site within a security sensitive area. Inscapes therefore needed to create suitable topsoil conditions and then to supply and lay turf that could withstand high footfall, along with implementing a suitable solution to prevent the area from degrading under the pressure of the tube line heat below, high summer temperatures, and the high footfall.

As such, Inscapes submitted a proposal to renovate the circa 2700 metres squared area. Preparatory works included the alleviation of ground compaction and removal of the top layer of organic matter, plus the introduction of an irrigation system into the ground so that water could be adequately, efficiently, and evenly distributed across the entire lawn area. This system would be temporary, but the irrigation infrastructure was permanent. This meant the system can be connected to a water supply in the future such as in summer months, or as required. To finish, the topsoil would then be turned into a fine tilth using specialist cultivating and raking equipment, before the spreading of fertiliser and finally the laying of thick cut turf, designed for instant use and suitable for high impact foot traffic. Inscapes also offered and eventually carried out an initial growing in maintenance programme which included watering, cutting, edging, and fertilising as required.

An existing planting bed was filled with 168 new Lavender Balls, 35x35cm in size and topped up with bark mulch. Flowering beds surrounding the statues were reinvigorated with a variety of colourful bedding plants using British Flag colours or colours that represent the person depicted by the statue.

Upon completion the lawns looked visually stunning and were extremely lush and green, and now has a fully functional irrigation infrastructure that can be connected into at short notice. The attitude of the installation team was exemplary during the works, showing the due care and attention required for such a high-profile installation. It was a difficult site to conduct works in central tourist London. The fact that we had no incidents, and no health and safety concerns throughout the entire project, is testimony to the operatives and management involved.

"Our team is thrilled to have been recognised with the BALI Principal Landscape Award. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. It is an honour to be recognised among the best in the industry."
  • Gareth Rees, Managing Director

Judges comments:

“This was a very well executed scheme within a uniquely challenging site. Of note was the wider team’s commitment to the environmental impact to meet the client's exacting requirements, the project team's innovative solutions to complex issues arising on site and the delivery of a quality finish within timescales. The overall finish is excellent and a credit to the team involved.”