We may be hurtling towards a global recession and the news may be all financial doom and gloom, but there is still a bright spot on the horizon for both established and newly-graduated garden designers in the form of recent mandatory changes to county council planning regulations.
From the 1st of this month (October) all planning applications, without exception, will have to be accompanied by a full Tree Survey Report and an Arboreal Culture Method Statement which, for clever garden designers, could mean a steady stream of bread and butter income to supplement their design work, especially while the housing market holds its breath through these difficult financial times.
And for designers with a flair for planting schemes, there’s more good news now that CABE Space and other organisations are supporting a new campaign to give soft landscaping (greenery/plants) more priority in new developments.
The suggestion is that 2% of the total budget must be spent on planting and green space, and local authorities will have to crackdown on developers who don’t fulfil this approved and planned landscaping. The trouble is, and this is good news for the proactive designer, most developers are not landscapers so even if they plant a few trees, they probably won’t be the right kind.
Some of our graduates have left the course and, not only established successful design practices, but also broken into journalism (again, a good way of supplementing your design income and getting your name known), to write about the importance of good design, planting etc in various local and national newspapers and magazines.
And so talking of CABE – which stands for The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and which is the body that advises the Government on architecture, urban design and public space – there’s currently a great opportunity for other would-be scribes who have qualified in design on our course, because this organisation is now actively recruiting design experts to put together a new 20-strong panel of freelance expert writers for 2009-11.
So, and I know we’re still a few weeks off, but if you’re thinking about drawing up your Christmas party invite list, you might want to include the names of a few local developers and architects and start building a supplementary income stream to get you through the current financial crisis, especially if you are just starting out.