As all successful operators know, a holiday park business cannot rely solely on their location or the surrounding countryside and must provide attractive, functional spaces to make their site a destination in itself – especially now in a shrinking economy as customers feel the pinch. Failing to understand the business need for well-maintained outdoor spaces, especially in failing to see them through the eyes of your customers, will lead to poor budgetary decisions and missed opportunities.
(Planting provides a softer effect than fences or walls for dividing areas for privacy and security)
So, how to go about improving the outdoor spaces of your site, and most specifically how to use plants and soft landscaping to do it?
Top tips to improve outdoor areas:
i. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, how it will benefit your customers, and how it will benefit your business.
ii. Prioritise key areas and the timescale in which you need to address them. Large planting schemes, as well as needing significant initial outlay, will also require maintenance so plan for this from the start and don’t take on more than you can handle in one go. Balance this with the logistical benefits (lower transport costs, less disruption in the long term, etc) of larger jobs and decide whether to undertake a single, major project or whether to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks.
iii. Know the conditions on site, and specifically the growing conditions in each location (drainage, soil type, exposure, etc) as well as any other limiting factors, such as access by children, proximity to grazing animals, etc, and select plants accordingly – planting the right plant in the right place will avoid problems later.
iiii. There is often a wider, or cheaper, selection of suitable plants available during the traditional planting season, which is during dormancy (November to March); for many holiday parks this coincides with the off season, so this is the ideal time to plant horticulturally, commercially, and logistically to minimise disturbance to your customers. However, demand for planting services at this time of year is high so plan ahead.
v. Understand why your customers are there – this may seem obvious but sometimes it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Decide what the USP of your site is, whether that is a particular view, proximity to local facilities or whatever, and plan your outdoor spaces accordingly. For example, don’t plant a windbreak if it compromises a key view, or don’t block off a shortcut route to town or the beach for perceived/feared (but unproven) security reasons if it then costs you bookings due to increased walking times to the local facilities and attractions. If you cater for lots of young families ensure that there are plenty of play spaces, both “formal” (with play equipment) and informal, and that they are all safe spaces. If a significant proportion of your guests are young adults on a short stay, such as for stag weekends and hen parties, provide “robust” spaces with plenty of secure seating and areas for privacy where appropriate, and use security planting (prickly/thorny plants if needs be and where appropriate) to deter access to private business areas. If the bulk of your long-term residents are more mature, ensure that there are safe and attractive ornamental spaces immediately around the living areas and communal spaces, but keep them clear from debris and obstacles and use non-slip surfaces.
(Instant hedging provides structure and security)
(A combination of evergreen structure and seasonal plants provide year-round interest)
Pitfalls to avoid:
i. Failing to understand the business need for well-maintained outdoor spaces, especially in failing to see them through the eyes of your customers, will lead to poor or incorrect budgetary decisions. Prioritise spending on what is essential and urgent, such as security, privacy and shelter planting and also on planning issues, then on what is urgent and of benefit, such as an attractive entrance and reception/office area, then on what is essential but less urgent (such as areas where you can afford to plant smaller stock and wait for them to grow), and only then look at the “nice to haves”. Don’t get carried away allocating budget on highly ornamental areas if security and privacy issues haven’t yet been addressed or if messy bin areas need to be screened off.
ii. As already discussed, know the growing conditions (or get expert advice) to avoid costly mistakes – this is hugely important.
iii. Don’t forget to plan and budget for maintenance, both initially to help new planting establish, but also on an ongoing basis as required. Your supplying nursery should be able to provide you with all of the information you need.
iiii. Don’t treat all areas the same. Vary them according to usage, especially if this changes throughout the year, and don’t treat areas for tents or mobile caravans the same as those for fixed caravans or lodges; there is even a need to landscape small fixed living quarters, such as pods, in a very different way to how you might plant around large fixed caravans, lodges or cabins. It is also important to plant sympathetically with the surrounding landscape.
v. Consider your neighbours. Dense planting to protect neighbours from unsightly views of your site, to give them privacy, and to help absorb noise, will help to improve the value of your site and to elevate the experience of your guests, but avoid unnecessarily casting excessive shade onto a neighbour’s property or causing other issues to avoid damaging and potentially stressful boundary/neighbour disputes.
Call in the experts for instant results:
With decades of experience in supplying the holiday park industry, as well as expert horticultural
knowledge and advice, Wykeham Mature Plants are experts in supplying instant transformations tailored to the site conditions and to the requirements of your business. Supplying the trade with high quality large trees, specimen shrubs, instant hedging and screening plants for over forty five years, Wykeham Mature Plants spans 150 acres of nursery, located in a frost pocket ten miles from Scarborough; the Yorkshire-grown stock is guaranteed to be hardy and free from imported pests and diseases. Nationwide delivery is available, and for sites located within a hundred miles or so from the nursery, site visits are available to provide consultations on your site and, if required, a professional and guaranteed expert planting service to help give your scheme the best possible start.
(Instant maturity can be achieved)
With Wykeham Mature Plants you can buy time, the most valuable commodity. Mature planting provides instant impact and maturity to key areas, shelter to exposed areas and, perhaps most useful of all, privacy and security to give both you and your customers peace of mind. Utilising the expert advisory services will ensure that your planting scheme will be carefully selected and of guaranteed quality and, with all of the information supplied regarding ongoing care and maintenance, you can be sure that your investment will grow and thrive.
(From bare grass to this in a single day)
For further information visit www.wykehammatureplants.co.uk. Alternatively, to discuss site visits and planting services (for sites located within a hundred miles or so from the nursery) email firstname.lastname@example.org .