BEST SITE IMPRESSIONS
Advice from leading suppliers on your holiday park landscaping purchases...
Not to be underestimated, the importance of that first impression of your holiday location is an opportunity only served once. Everything your guests can see when they arrive needs to be immaculately maintained especially keeping a keen-eyed view on open spaces, driveways and garden areas.
“First impressions count, and this is particularly relevant in the holiday parks sector, be it the customer’s first impression on arrival or the images portrayed on your website,” emphasises Rupert Price, the owner of Price Turfcare, the UK importer of the Ventrac range of turf maintenance equipment. “This visual presentation is so important and could be the difference between your prospective client choosing your site over one that is close by.” Rupert continues: “All parks have copious areas of grass that need to be maintained in good order; long grass looks unsightly and gives the impression of neglect, so the condition and presentation is vital.” There are many mowers on the market from walk-behinds and ride-ons, either rotary or cylinder, the occasional flail, and even remote-controlled mowers for sloping ground that can help you achieve the perfect picture.
Walk-behind mowers, be they cylinder or rotary, are ideal for confined spaces but for large areas they are unproductive and labour intensive. Ride-ons come in various sizes from the semi-commercial small out-front rotaries to the large commercial cylinder mowers with rollers that provide attractive striping.
If a sloping bank is greater than 15 degrees, it is unlawful to operate the machine as it may roll over. To overcome this, remote-controlled mowers have been introduced, which enables the operator to stand clear of the machine and work from a safe distance. Most of these machines have a limited cutting width, so again productivity is an issue.
They are normally tracked vehicles and, in wet conditions, can ruin a grass bank when turning. Vitally, Ventrac and Price Turfcare offer an alternative that can overcome all of these issues and do more than just cut grass and, more importantly, in a safe manner. “We can legitimately operate on slopes up to 30 degrees, twice their permitted angle and allowing areas that may have not been maintained regularly, to be tamed,” Rupert explains.
“With seven different mowing decks we’re obviously not a one-trick pony, but with numerous other attachments we can provide the versatility you should be demanding from your equipment.” It is worth noting, the Ventrac offers a Power Broom for removing debris from hard surfaces, ideal for car parks and paved areas. The Power Rake is a great tool for renovating compacted hardcore pitches or Type 1 aggregate road and pathways.
Compaction to pitches, caused by the continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes over the course of a season, can be relieved using the Aera-vator and attaching the Seeder unit it is possible to aerate and overseed in a single pass. There are a couple of debris blowers, the Turbine blower and Power blower, for removing autumnal leaves on parks close to or surrounded by woodland and finally, the Boom mower, for maintaining hedges and lake margins.
Trevalgan is an award-winning, luxury, five-star, family camping and touring park with stunning coastal and countryside views, just two miles from St Ives. The Park, which is owned and run by Neil and Annette Osborne, is surrounded by open farmland, with gorse and heather covered hills behind, and is within walking distance of the rugged and beautiful South West Coast Path. They recently invested in a Ventrac landscaping package. Neil explains: “The main reason I was interested in the Ventrac package was because of the ease of changing the implements safely and quickly on my own. The compact size and manoeuvrability of the machine is ideal for our busy campsite and enables me to get in to all the tight spaces. “The overall quality of the machine and implements are excellent. I have been very impressed by the Area-vator as this helps to relieve the compaction of the pitches caused by a five-month season of continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes. Neil adds: “At the end of the season, this versatile implement can also re-seed the pitch at the same time, which makes the Ventrac very time efficient and I have been more than pleased with the end result.”
FIT FOR PURPOSE
Of course, professionals using any power tool will naturally demand a product that can do the job with ease. Outdoor equipment and power tools that are powered by lithium-ion batteries and manufactured by trusted manufacturers can reliably offer users this reassurance, as lithium-ion batteries can hold high levels of energy and will work for long periods of time without needing to be charged.
“For professionals who rely on a machine for their livelihood, quality shouldn’t be compromised, and users should only source equipment from trusted manufacturers to make sure the tool is fit for the job,” says Mark Earles, Product Development Manager for Outdoor Products at Makita UK. “This is particularly important when using battery-powered products,’ he adds.
The temptation to use third party, uncertified, cheap batteries can lead to poor product performance, or even risk fire and injury. Using a third-party battery will also invalidate any tool warranties. Only use genuine batteries from the manufacturer that have been fully tested and guaranteed to work with the tool and Users are increasingly looking for more sustainable solutions, with a move toward battery powered tools that can replace petrol, or corded alternatives.
Cordless products offer freedom to move about on site, without spending time on the safe management of trailing cables in public areas, or handling petrol – and the associated fumes for those nearby.
DO NOT DISTURB
A further priority, particularly for those working on a public site, is noise. Cordless machines are typically quieter than petrol products, making them an ideal choice for working through the day whilst minimising disturbance for holiday park guests. In line with this, Makita stopped manufacturing its petrol-powered products in January this year to concentrate on developing its cordless range further to evolve with the needs of the market.
Mark advises: “When investing into a cordless system of outdoor equipment, choose a manufacturer that offers a range of tools powered by the same battery platform. “This not only makes switching between jobs easier, but also reduces costs if you buy the ‘body only’ models -- without battery and charger – simply use your existing batteries and chargers to power your entire collection, rather than purchasing new ones every time.” Users also want tools that offer productivity and efficiency gains. Makita is constantly refining its battery and charging technologies, to provide the performance and power that professionals need as well supporting greener and cleaner products for the industry.
Makita manufactures a wide range of outdoor equipment and construction power tools with a core focus on cordless technology. With over 100 years’ experience, the company has refined this expertise and today offers over 290 products in its LXT battery powered range alone.
The LXT collection includes products such as blowers, lawnmowers, linetrimmers and hedge trimmers, as well as drills, saws, drivers and wrenches, even radios, heated jackets and kettles and the company continues to add more to the range each year. This means outdoor professionals have a huge choice of kit that can all be powered by the same battery without the restriction of cords or petrol.
Simply switch the battery to a different tool to tackle every type of job, anywhere on site, with ease. At this time of year, leaf blowers such as the DUB186 18V LXT Bower are a hugely popular and essential product to clear paths and public areas from autumn leaves. The DUB186 is compact and lightweight solution that can be easily transported around site, offering a maximum air volume of 3.2m2/min and variable speed control. Linetrimmers are also an essential grounds maintenance solution that remain popular thanks to their versatility and effectiveness in making light work of neatening grassy areas.
A tool such as the DUR192L 18V LXT Line-trimmer can be used to tidy edges around borders, trim awkward areas around static caravans, decking, fences and walls, as well as heavier duty applications to clear weeds and long grass. Its quiet operation is ideal for use in public spaces.
Take advantage of manufacturers, like Makita, that offer free training on using equipment correctly and safely. When working with any outdoor equipment, always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure staff wear and use the correct safety equipment.
Failing to do so could cost an employee’s eyesight, hearing, a finger, the end of a career, or worse. As we head into winter, what better time to evaluate your outdoor areas and carry out the necessary modifications to make your guests’ first impressions count in time for the 2023 season. “The landscape and surroundings of your holiday park or caravan site provide the backdrop for a picture-postcard holiday,” urges Phil Catley, Kubota (UK)’s Ground Care Product Manager. “When it comes to grounds maintenance, mowing will likely be the operation conducted most frequently and by making simple changes to your cutting regime – such as considering cut and collect – it can have major benefits, not just to site presentation. Mowing of both communal spaces and those in and around chalets and statics is absolutely essential to maintaining the aesthetic quality of your site, and in peak growing season may be conducted on a daily basis. The finesse of a clean cut however, can sometimes be compromised by the clippings left behind following the pass of a ride-on mower.”
The Kubota G-Series has been designed for high performance and ease of operation, offering impressive cutting performance on grass of all lengths and in all conditions. For landscaped areas close to holiday lets, many Grounds Managers are now turning to ride-on units that offer cut and collect – delivering precision and accuracy of cut and removal of the clippings produced in a single pass. Says Phil: “Not only does this enhance presentation and reduce the risk and problems associated with the mown grass being trodden into accommodation, removal of clippings is also great for turf health. “Your grass surfaces are living organisms, that require both air and sunlight to create food and grow,” advises Phil.
“Allowing thick piles of clippings to accumulate can create dark, warm and damp micro-climates that can lead to issues with certain turf diseases which can ultimately impact on the health and overall appearance of your green spaces.”
They say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. SALTEX 2022 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, and promises a wealth of practical tips and product to add to your outdoor landscaping plans. SALTEX attracts the most exhibitors in the industry to one place at any one time.
With new exhibitors coming on board weekly, the 2022 event is already set to be the biggest and best show yet. SALTEX continues to attract the best in the business – with visitor registrations from over 30 countries already confirmed with a roll call of domestic and international exhibitors signed-up. Free to attend, the show includes the ever-popular Learning LIVE programme - a key element in the SALTEX offering, which has this year been extended to over 30 sessions with influential speakers addressing a range of key issues impacting the industry. High on the agenda are sustainability and environmental issues.
SALTEX is an event grounds people have always made the time to attend. Visitor and exhibitor feedback surveys confirm that the networking opportunities are a massive draw and never more so than in the post-pandemic landscape. 2021 survey data showed that almost half (46%) of visitors attend for networking opportunities; over two-thirds (68%) attend to source new products, services, and suppliers; topped by an extremely high satisfaction rating of 83% voting the show as Good, Very Good or Excellent.
Reesink UK will be represented at SALTEX 2022 with innovations and technologies, new launches and best sellers from all four of its divisions Reesink Turfcare, Reesink e-Vehicles, Reesink Agriculture and Reesink Hydro-Scapes for the first time. Bound to be a big draw will be two Toro product launches from Reesink Turfcare. The new Toro ProCore 648s and ToroWorkman UTX 4x4.
Building on the incredible legacy of the ProCore 648, the 648s brings more innovative features to the time-tested machine that changed the way you aerate. The s stands for superior – and superior it is. An updated version of a customer- favourite model, there are more than 10 new patents and some brand-new enhancements based off operator feedback and Toro’s own in-depth studies. Revised controls improve ergonomics and allow single handed operation, and hole spacing and true tine depth are now set and saved in the Info Centre. Reesink will also unveil the latest powerhouse from Toro to tackle all terrains thrown at it: the new Toro Workman UTX 4x4. The fourth utility vehicle in the series, it tackles all terrains and environments including ice and snow.
This robust four-wheel drive, full- sized utility vehicle has 25 percent more cargo capacity than others in its class and blasts through its tasks. Finishing the line up from Reesink Turfcare is Toro’s Groundsmaster 3300 mower, back with its innovative flail attachment, and one of two tractors – the TYM T395 is coupled with an AgriMetal blower attachment at the show.
The industry’s first all-electric compact tractor from Reesink Agriculture is the second on stand. Since Farmtrac’s FT25G launched, it’s won awards, been on multiple TV programmes and impressed the industry’s electric vehicles and technology enthusiasts, as well as winning the SALTEX Innovation Award in the Environmental and Sustainability category. So, if you’ve missed seeing it in person up until now, now’s your chance. With the theme of the show sustainability, Reesink e-Vehicles is ably represented by the electric CapellaWork Machine with cargo box from STAR EV and KAASPEED’s unique electric scooter. Both make transporting cargo and people around the site fun, clean and green.
Also on display, and the next big thing for sustainable cleaning of machinery, is Bio-Circle GT Maxi, the parts cleaner that requires no water and eliminates pollutant run-off into the water system. This VOC-free, pH neutral cleaning option is gentle on the environment but powerful enough to remove grease, oil, grass contamination, white-line paint and fertiliser.
From Reesink Hydro-Scapes, there’s a selection of irrigation and water aeration solutions, encapsulating the long established and industry-leading Toro irrigation systems, controllers, sprinklers and soil sensors, Otterbine pond and lake aerators; SRC wall-mounted controllers and quick-replace Franklin pump systems.
For many parks bringing third parties and contractors on site to complete works is part of everyday life. Whether it’s for large developments, upgrades or just simple repairs and maintenance, having other businesses onsite is a regular occurrence. As we head into the period when many parks undertake important maintenance and development work, specialist insurers, Compass, has put together some helpful tips to consider when it comes to their insurance. From an insurance perspective you want to check that:
1. The contractor does have insurance in place.
2. That insurance is specific to the work they are going to undertake
3. Their insurance doesn’t expose you and your policy to any claims Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, from large commercial businesses to bona fide contractors, Compass advises.
Regardless of the type of their business, the length of contract and the work they are undertaking when coming onto your park requires them to have their own insurance cover. The only exception is if you’re employing a labour only sub-contractor as they are automatically classed as your employee by most commercial policies and would therefore be covered on your own policy.
A contractor working on your park without the right level of insurance could expose you, the most obvious way is in your liability to the public. The limit of indemnity (LOI) on Public Liability needs to be the same as the limit you have on your Park business policy, referred to as being ‘back to back’. If it isn’t then in the event of a liability incident, you could find yourself picking up the gap in an award to a claimant.
Kubota (U.K.) Limited
Tel: 01844 268205
Tel. 01908 211678
Tel. 01284 827540
Tel. 01480 226800
Tel. 07754 552405