We meet Tom Bannister, Design Construction Manager for the Landstruction Group which comprises Landstruction and Big Hedge Co.
Who/what inspired you to pursue a career in landscaping?
My earliest memory of gardening was when my mother would ask me to turn over the borders or chop down a hideous Leylandii hedge we had in the front garden. I always felt great after working hard in the garden because I was exercising without knowing it. I think that was the first instance where I realised I enjoyed working outside.
This combined with those early Diarmuid Gavin programs that always seemed to be on the television where he would make these wonderful and inspiring gardens. This sparked the creative part of my brain and told me that anything was possible in our outside space.
What's been the proudest moment in your career to date?
Working on my first gold medal winning garden for a wonderful nursery in Herefordshire was a massive moment for me. I worked so hard to get to that point and we got a Gold medal for our garden at RHS Malvern.
After that, the 2 gardens I worked on that both got Gold at RHS Chelsea were a mind-boggling experience. I had wanted to be a part of the flower show for so long and then to be there and working on the planting and details was a learning experience like no other. The micro detail that goes into building a show garden at that level is something that could only be matched in a Rolls Royce factory. In fact, 3 times the man hours go into building a main avenue Chelsea show garden.
What's the best thing about working in landscape design and what do you love about the creative process?
On a practical level, to be able to improve the way our client’s use their outside space, day to day, is something I enjoy. As garden designers, we have the opportunity to shape how one feels when leaving for work or arriving home after a hard day at the office. Underneath this process, the opportunity to improve our wildlife’s experience around our homes is of equal importance.
If I can manage to do both things together, whilst making our properties visually beautiful, everybody’s happy.
When did you develop a love of nature?
Ever since I can remember. As a small child, I would always be searching for a tree to climb or a woodland to explore. There is a sense of peace and connection that occurs when rambling through woods. I think it might be the earthy scent or the cool temperature that entices me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about nature that I love, but I do love it, and therefore keep doing it.
What's your favourite season?
Spring for me is the time when I feel the most excitement. After our dark winters, the anticipation for long, warm days fills me with optimism. Lambs are bouncing and everywhere you look there is new life. For me, that joy is difficult to replicate at any other time of the year.
Your 3 must haves for a day working outdoors...
Working outdoors a pair of good boots is vital! Warm, waterproof and well made. This sentiment carries through to waterproof clothing.
As long as you are prepared well, you can take on most tasks comfortably outside. The key is to be comfortable and dress in layers too. Lastly, my beautifully crafted Japanese secateurs. When I’m out in the garden, they’re on my hip!