The history (and the future) of The Landscape Group
“Keeping it Green since 1919”
Whilst we’ve always been involved in shaping the landscape, we have a long history and our focus has evolved over the past 93 years in response to market demand.
Established in 1919, the Landscape Group originally had its roots in forestry management, timber harvesting and arboriculture – mostly in the South East of England. By the end of the 1970’s, the Group had added commercial landscape construction and term landscape maintenance to its activities, trading as English Woodlands.
By 1990, nearly two thirds of the Group’s turnover was related to landscaping, so a sister company was created called English Landscapes. In 1995, to fund its growth the Group received its first venture capital investment from 3i plc. In 1998, the Landscape Group was formed, with two trading divisions: English Landscapes and English Woodlands.
By 2002, forestry no longer formed our core business, so to safeguard the interests of our forestry staff and clients, a trade sale of English Woodlands was agreed with Tilhill.
Due to sustained growth in the landscape construction and landscape maintenance businesses, England Landscapes was then split into two trading divisions to focus on construction (English Landscapes Ltd or ELL) and maintenance (English Landscapes Maintenance Ltd or ELM) respectively.
In 2008, the Group successfully completed a management buyout from its former owners, backed by private equity firm Elysian Capital LLP. Ken Terry of Elysian Capital LLP said “We are delighted to be backing the management team of English Landscapes as they take the business on to its next stage of growth. We have provided a combination of flexible equity finance and operational support that will enable the company to continue to develop from its established position.” With support from Elysian, the Group then acquired Banyards Ltd, a Dorset-based horticultural and arboricultural contractor which added further to the Group’s geographical and skills base.
In May 2009, Nick Temple-Heald was appointed as Group CEO. Former Glendale Managing Director Nick Temple-Heald said, “I am very impressed with the company’s plans for growth and with the commitment of Elysian to this their first investment. This move represents a significant opportunity to help develop English Landscapes into the leading green services company in the UK.”
In 2010, the Group acquired Western Landscapes Limited (trading as Wyevale Landscapes and Wyevale Grounds Maintenance). Wyevale, based near Bristol, supplied hard and soft landscaping and grounds maintenance services to local authorities operating from ten sites around the country.
This acquisition provided an excellent fit with our existing business and gave the expanded Group further economies of scale, enabling us to offer an even better and more competitive service in grounds maintenance to our customers and a much wider geographical penetration for our existing landscaping business in the South and South West.
So, what of the future? We’re looking forward with confidence to our 100th anniversary in seven years’ time. Whilst none of us can predict the future economic climate, we have no doubt that we will focus on driving best value, operating sustainably and being as flexible as possible to enable our clients to flourish. We will continue to invest in our people, invest in new engineering and information technologies, and always put our customers first.