By Philip Sayers, P. Sayers

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This was necessary because specifications for grass slashing had never been documented before. No one except the previous operator had ever known where all the sites were. Eventually 125 sites were identified. Declaration of interest This preliminary data collection stage occurred during February and March of 1993. No further work was done on the tender specifications for some months. When the work resumed, the works officer and fore-man prepared some estimates of how long slashing at these sites would take.

Standard grass everywhere not only looks boring; it also costs more in the long run. So at Warrington, a more naturalistic design and maintenance concept was adopted. Here it was decided to move away from the mechanistic approach of cutting grass six, or twenty-six, times per year. The naturalistic approach worked. And it worked well. The reason that it worked was because someone had thought it all through at the outset. The objectives were clear. The case study is provided by David Scott. His role in the creation and management of the much acclaimed landscape of Warrington began in February 1972.

This problem was evident in very many authorities. It was my view that money spent on greenhouse heating, annual bedding plants, shrub and rose pruning, handweeding for relatively few shrubberies and regular mowing of large tracts of grass, could be better spent on achieving a major impact with mass tree and shrub management throughout the town. This would require a new attitude towards landscape management. Only in this way could real cost savings be achieved. There would be a need to change the attitude of the general public towards a highly manicured landscape and to encourage an acceptance of managed natural landscape.

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