Ashleigh Bissett reports on making the most of your outdoor spaces…
Whilst we may not be able to control every element of our guest’s stay, we do get the opportunity to make sure the holiday gets off to the best start possible. The importance of first impressions is not to be underestimated and you only get one chance to impress guests and provide a warm welcome. Key to that success is ensuring that everything your guests see when they arrive is nicely presented - including the open spaces, driveways and garden areas.
A common problem encountered in many large grassed open spaces such as parkland, golf courses, bowling greens and even in domestic gardens is compaction of the soil leading to waterlogging. In some cases, this can render the areas unusable, sometimes for long periods of time. Deep penetration aeration has proved successful for many years and is well known by golf courses for relieving compaction panning on their greens, tees and even around tree roots. In fact, the technique was introduced with the invention of the Terralift machine in Germany in the early 1970’s. Since then different chassis versions of the Terralift have been designed to work in a wide range of applications. The deep aeriation technique was recently used in the glamping area within the grounds of Warwick Castle. The site features circular mediaeval themed tents, connected by coconut matting walkways to a large central tent that houses the food hall. Fully fitted with wooden floors, the tents have conical roofs that shed rain around the periphery of the tent and, as there is no provision for drainage, the medium to heavy clay soil does become very wet.
When the time came in October to remove the tents the areas that were covered by the wooden floors and coconut matting were left as bare, wet mud. These needed to be brought back to grass as quickly as possible, to meet the planning conditions for the glamping use of the historic and protected parkland.
“The first job needed once the tents were out of the way was to clear the surface water and ease any compaction in the soil that had been covered by the floors and pathways,” explains Lynda Green, Operations Director at Terrain Aeriation.
“The Tracker Terralift was used with up to a 100m long air pipe deployed to allow the compressor to remain on the main vehicle route through the entire site and not get bogged down.”
The Terralift treatment injects compressed air into the soil as much as a metre deep to de-compact, aerate and inject seaweed across the affected areas. The seaweed sticks to the walls of the fractures, swelling and contracting and keeping the fissures open. The process clears surface water areas, helping to dry up any mud, leaving the area ready for surface preparation and the replacement of the missing grass. Says Lynda: “The machine moves on two metres and repeats the operation, completing two metre spacings on a staggered grid pattern and each shot connects with the previous ones so the whole area is aerated and treated. The Terralift can treat approximately 2,000m² of turf in a day.” She adds: “The long-term solution causes little surface disruption and allows immediate play on sports pitches and greens after treatment.” Improved technology has made keeping outdoor spaces neat and tidy easier than ever before, with an abundance of high-tech equipment and machinery available on the market. For example, accessing every corner of a park or estate has become markedly easier over the years, since the introduction of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) some 30 years ago. Now the vehicle of choice for many landowners, ATVs are the ideal solution for those looking to get the job done on and off road.
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