Following the launch of the Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2024, taking place on Friday 19th April and this year, welcoming a series of new categories which allow us to open entries to explore even more understated businesses and achievements from across the industry – we wanted to catch up with some of our previous winners and see how times have changed since receiving their award.
Your name: Rachel Bailey MSGD
Your position: Director and Principal designer at Rachel Bailey Garden Design
Winner – Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2023 – Garden Design Company of the Year 2023
Since winning your award at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards, how has this benefited your business?
It is hard to say specifically; however, it has been a busy and exciting year with lots of fantastic projects on the go.
We continue to be busy, and we are attracting a range of domestic, commercial and community projects that have a sustainability and plant-driven focus. I was invited to speak at the HTA conference in October 2023 on urban green spaces, which was a fabulous opportunity to engage in the industry, and the landscape show (on soil and carbon sequestration in landscape design).
What do you believe that you gained from entering these awards?
- Wider recognition of our garden and landscape design practice and our sustainability focus and ethos.
- Time to reflect on how our business is performing and what we have achieved over the previous year(s).
- Amazing feedback from the judges.
One of the judges’ comments: “An outstanding submission with well-considered responses to each question. Rachel Bailey Garden Design’s submission has highlighted why they are an award-winning landscape and garden design practice with a strong focus on sustainable and environmental design. It is clear they are both professional and creative whilst open to genuine collaboration with suppliers, contractors, and fellow landscape professionals. From inception to completion Rachel Bailey Garden Design create gardens that have a long-term vision for people, place and nature.”
What have the biggest challenges been across the year?
Juggling a number of projects as well as dealing with new enquiries with a small team and at the same time wanting to grow, but needing to do so when the economic forecast was uncertain.
What do you think is the reason behind these challenges?
Not taking on another designer early enough, but this was down to wariness to grow too quickly/ at the wrong time given the economic forecast and its potential for affecting the landscape design sector.
What are you most looking forward to for the new year?
Continuing to work with our lovely clients in both the aftercare and development side of our business as well as the creation of new regenerative gardens and landscapes. I am also looking forward to helping to develop the skills of the designers I work with, helping them to move through the Society of Garden Designers accreditation pathway, as well as developing the team and business.
Exciting upcoming projects?
We have a number of exciting upcoming projects including the gardens and landscapes of several architect-designed homes in the west of Scotland, where we are based, and an urban regeneration community project in Glasgow.
New developments within the company?
We have taken on a graduate garden designer to join the design team and a part-time administrator. With our commitment to creating green spaces that are regenerative and good for nature and people, Rachel is also now a qualified Building with Nature Assessor. This means she can assess the adherence of developments – from small community led projects to large developments – to the Building with Nature standards that puts nature at the heart of new development in a way that’s good for people and for wildlife. These standards provide planners and developers with evidence-based, how-to guidance on delivering high-quality green infrastructure.
Would you recommend entering an award with Pro Landscaper?
Yes. The process of entering focusses your mind on considering your business: how it is performing and what you have achieved. Then if you win this industry award, it is a huge accolade and demonstrates our commitment to not only our practice, our clients and collaborators (landscapers, plant nurseries and suppliers), but also the industry at large.