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Benefits of joining The APL

01/09/2020 - News

What is the Association of Professional Landscapers?

My name is Phil Tremayne. I am the manager of The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL).
I have been in this position for nearly 10 years and have been involved in the horticultural industry for the last 35 years.
I have witnessed many changes, trends and recessions in my career, but none have been as challenging as what we have been going through just now. I am of course referring to Coronavirus.

Phil Tremayne from the APL

During Covid lockdowns, open spaces became more important to people than ever before.

Many have lived in their homes and walked around their surrounding areas and never really looked at what they had and what those spaces meant to them.
Working from home saw many looking out their windows over the top of their laptop screens and seeing their gardens transform through the spring to places that could be enjoyed and nurtured. Suddenly, there was a real desire to get out in the garden and make use of this valuable space. Of course, once they get out there and realised what they had, their thoughts turned to what could it be!! What potential did this space have to offer?

A few evenings spent on Instagram or Facebook doing some investigation showed them gardens that had been transformed from barren unkempt, unloved spaces to gardens that delivered outdoor entertaining areas, cooking areas, and havens of wildlife. A garden that really became the “Outdoor Room”.

Helping people find a reputable landscaper - aka - You!

For most, having a garden landscaped would be a once in a lifetime occurrence, with many simply not knowing where to start. They could look in the Yellow pages and see hundreds of landscapers and still be unsure.

There are many schemes available that promote trusted traders, but surveys have confirmed that when you are looking for a specific trade, sector-specific schemes are more focused and reliable than the larger catchalls.

The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) is one of the UK’s leading Domestic Landscaping Associations. And one that is known and recognised.  Established for over 25 years its members form a collective of some the most creative and talented landscapers, designers, and professional gardeners in the country.

So what does it take to become a member of The APL?

Joining The APL isn’t just a case of supplying a few past client references and paying a fee. It was felt important that potential members had to work hard for their membership, so we have created one of the toughest inspection processes in the industry.

On application, the potential Landscape member, who must be an established business, is asked to take part in an online inspection. This inspection asks for the applicant to provide evidence of financial stability, provide proof of relevant insurances and certificates of competency in all areas they are advertising as a service.

They are also asked to provide a range of policies (inc Health and Safety) and their HR processes.

Finally as part of this paperwork and process inspection, we ask that the applicant provides an example of their quotations, invoicing processes, and terms and conditions to ensure they are clear, accurate and provide enough information for the potential client.
They are also asked to provide images of a current project and images of a past project.

This received pack of evidence is then scrutinised by the APL recruitment council who checks through all the information provided against a scoring sheet, which enables the council to create a percentage score against the application. If this score is above 65% the applicant is notified of any areas that need improvement and a further inspection is booked in.

This face to face inspection looks at the applicant’s office, yard, and current and past projects. Again legislation and health and safety is important, but this physical inspection enables us to look closely at the quality of the work, assessing process, and finishing. It also allows us to spend some time with the applicant and see which areas they may need support. Again this inspection is scored against a sheet and the pass threshold is above 70%.

If your score falls below this, you will either be offered advice and support to get you over the line or if you fall very short, you would be provided with a report and suggest that APL membership at this time may not be right for your business.

Once a member you will have regular inspections and unrivaled support and contact with the Association as you become part of one of the fastest-growing landscaping communities in the country.
The process for other sectors is similar, except for designers.

APL for professional garden designers

APL designers (MAPL) have their own online inspection, performed by a separate designer panel.

Applicants are asked to supply the following items relating to two projects for assessment

1) Site Survey (can have been carried out by others)
2) Client Brief, and Site Analysis or Design Rationale.
3) Masterplan.
4) Layout/Setting Out Plan/s and 2 construction drawings for any item (*one of which must not be paving). Layout plans must include levels.
*Preferably a step detail, wall detail, or pergola. etc.
5) Specification (or detailed Scope of Works)
6) Planting Plan/s.
7) Your Contracts/T&Cs.
8) CDM documentation.
9) A selection of before, (during if available) and after images Min 5 per project.

Again this is rated, and applicants need to attain a score of above 70% to qualify. If they fall behind this score, then support is offered to help re-apply.
Once again this is a robust inspection, allowing us as an association to be confident that members of the public looking for services from professional horticulturalists will receive the best.

Find out more about the APL

As earlier stated, I have been working for the HTA/APL for 10 years. I feel privileged to be connected to our members and am often in awe of their dedication, diligence, and creativity.
I hope after reading this, if you are in the industry you may wish to apply and see what it is all about, or if you are looking to have some work done on your garden, you will consider The APL.


How to contact the APL

Click here for a fabulous video interview in which Phil Tremayne from the APL talks to multi-award winning garden designer David Stevens FSGD FCI hort about landscaping costs and managing customer expectations

Case Study:This garden in Buckinghamshire was created by APL member Craig McGibbon