Templeman Harrison - Garden Design & Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainability  Carpentry

This section is presented in order to expand on Templeman Harrison's philosophy of building in sustainability into all aspects of its'' work. It is hoped that readers will be stimulated by this and we are always interested to receive comments and contributions by email.

With six million hectares of land within British gardens there is a huge opportunity for us to impact on the future of the climate, native plant species, wildlife and human welfare in the local and global community. We are continuously researching, innovating and collaborating to improve what we can offer our clients, and we hope as technologies and costs improve we may come closer to achieving our objective for sustainable and ecological landscaping to be standard practice.


The use and good management of timber and trees are the answer to many of the world's environmental problems, such as issues of sustainability, greenhouse gases or wildlife. Whilst using reclaimed or recycled timber is an obvious solution it is not often viable, so presented here are other alternatives where the environmental impact is at its lowest.

tree seat wind fallen oak, quercus robur coppiced sweet chestnut, recycled tin furniture, decking

We used timber from a storm-felled oak for this circular tree seat, that is actually built into the oak tree.

We created this deck out of coppiced Sweet Chestnut from farmed Sussex woodlands. The seats and table are made from recycled tin cans, and are so robust that they even have a lifetime guarantee.

Where possible UK sourced wood can be used, and as locally to the project as possible, as the distance it travels from the forest to the site will greatly affect its' level of embodied energy.

A perfect choice for outdoor construction, such as decking, would be to use 100% sustainable Sweet Chestnut from UK coppiced woodland. In return for quality, durable timber you also help preserve an ancient industry that supports an incredible wealth of biodiversity.

In other cases FSC timber (Forest Stewardship Council) or chain of custody certificates should always be specified, which most sources in the UK will have.

However this is even more imperative if the wood is from abroad. The label of the FSC guarantees that the forest of origin has been independently inspected and evaluated to comply with an internationally agreed set of strict environmental, social and economic standards. It is limited, however, in that it is yet to examine the timber process further up or down the chain of production.

The use of tropical hardwoods in designs should be avoided whereever possible because of the destruction it causes to many of the world's most important forests. European grown Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, European Larch, Scots Pine, Sweet Chestnut and European Oak are all suitable alternatives for exterior use.

Tropical hardwoods are the lungs of the earth but at the present rate of destruction the world''s rainforests will disappear within 100 years. Check the Good Wood Guide www.foe.co.uk to make sure you're not about to buy from an endangered species.

Treated timber

Treated timber is classed as 'Hazardous Waste'. Traditional timber preservatives in wood are one of the worst causes of toxic indoor air pollution, and release their hazardous properties into the soil and surface water. It can't be burnt and once used has to go to landfill. When treating timber a soluble Boron based treatment is a suitable alternative, which prevents fungal and insect attack and is harmless to humans and wildlife. Organic non-toxic paints are preferable as timber paints.