Life in the Borders…

Well, it’s a new experience for me to be writing on the Arbworx blog and I’m delighted to introduce myself. My name is Sophia and I’m married to Jon who is the owner of and driving force behind Arbworx.

I’ve called this post ‘life in the borders’ as although I’m not one of the team who carries out the works on-site, I like to think I provide essential support and encouragement from the sidelines or (as this is a landscaping firm) from the borders, and this is my take on Arbworx.

Life in the Borders – it’s all about taking time to smell the flowers...
Life in the Borders – it’s all about taking time to smell the flowers...

I haven’t written for the Arbworx blog before as I have a separate full time job and travel a lot, hence life is usually too hectic to allow me to do more than proof read, edit and upload the excellent pieces written by our other team members. However, I’m now on maternity leave (still waiting for the baby, before you ask!) and I’ve suddenly discovered the luxury of time to myself. Ever quick off the mark, Jon has wasted no time in putting me to work!

Like many of you I’m always interested to see what the team are up to and follow their entertaining posts on Facebook and Twitter from wherever I happen to be in the world. It can be slightly surreal looking at a Facebook update showing the team sweating over a hot deck in Sussex when I’m watching snow falling in Tallinn, but it’s a great way to stay in touch with the business I’ve come to know and love.

Arbworx’s Facebook page, check it out for updates, pictures, competitions and much more...
Arbworx’s Facebook page, check it out for updates, pictures, competitions and much more...

There have been three major developments within Arbworx this year that have really caught my interest and I’m going to go into more detail on these here. The first is the company’s efforts to use more recycled and environmentally friendly materials wherever possible; the second is the increased amount of work Arbworx is carrying out for schools across Sussex; and the third is our successful foray into the world of social media – not something you’d usually associate with a landscaping company.

So, the wonderful world of corporate social responsibility, green business and the modern day three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle…

Many people would think that the very nature of our work here at Arbworx automatically means we’re a green business, but we take every care to keep our working practices as environmentally friendly as possible. This means thinking carefully about every aspect of our work from ensuring we source our timber from responsible suppliers like Travis Perkins, who are committed to working within the two main standards for well managed timber certification; FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), down to disposing of green waste responsibly at authorised recycling facilities and ensuring our vehicles are properly maintained so that they use less diesel when out and about between the yard and our various customers’ sites.

The yard at Travis Perkins from where we source much of our timber and other materials
The yard at Travis Perkins from where we source much of our timber and other materials

We know we aren’t the cheapest landscaping contractor out there, but at the same time we do believe that you get what you pay for in this life. We’ve all seen piles of green waste tipped at the side of the road and most of the time those responsible will be firms who want to avoid paying to dispose of their rubbish properly. Arbworx undertakes never to dump any of the waste we remove from our customers’ properties, and to always ensure that it is disposed of responsibly.

Proper vehicle maintenance is another way we can all do our bit for the environment. Keeping our tyres correctly pumped up, only using the air conditioning system when we really need to and switching to diesel rather than petrol may sound like small steps, but every little helps.

We maintain our vehicles carefully, don’t overload them and always dispose of our green waste responsibly.
We maintain our vehicles carefully, don’t overload them and always dispose of our green waste responsibly.

Of course, as specialists in arboriculture we can also advise on tree planting schemes to help offset carbon emissions and if this is something you or your company are interested in please don’t hesitate to give us a call. There’s nothing nicer than knowing you’ve done your bit for the environment by planting a tree which will not only help the ecosystem but will also provide you with structure and beauty in the garden for years to come.

We are regular visitors to places like Architectural Plants and the Big Plant Nursery to source the best shrubs and trees for our customers’ gardens.
We are regular visitors to places like Architectural Plants and the Big Plant Nursery to source the best shrubs and trees for our customers’ gardens.
Architectural Plants have some amazing trees and cacti
Architectural Plants have some amazing trees and cacti

We took the decision this year to use recycled materials wherever possible and one of the best examples of this has to be our fabulous Sea Serpent planter commissioned by a primary school in Brighton.

The 12 metre high and 23 metre long Viking Sea Serpent planting structure
The 12 metre high and 23 metre long Viking Sea Serpent planting structure

The school asked us to come up with a design that would capture the kids’ imaginations and allow them to put in their own plants and vegetables so, after some careful research, we proposed this structure which has elements of a Viking longship combined with lots of spacious planters. Hard to believe that this started life as a truck full of old scaffolding boards and joists from a house renovation!

To obtain our materials we visited The Wood Store, an award winning Social Enterprise in Brighton, who sell recycled timber for construction and DIY projects. In this way we were able to do our bit for the environment whilst also supporting a great local enterprise.

Arbworx is proud to support local environmental suppliers such as the Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project
Arbworx is proud to support local environmental suppliers such as the Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project

Here at Arbworx we’re delighted to see that more and more schools are commissioning works like this as we really enjoy building them. Our talented team can carry out a huge variety of landscaping works and we specialise in landscape carpentry. We even have two in-house designers who would love the opportunity to create some more builds like this so if you know of any schools or other organisations who might be thinking along these lines we’d greatly appreciate an introduction.

Most recently we were asked to design and install an outdoor play area for a school in Selsey. This was another project that the team had great fun with (we’re all kids at heart here at Arbworx!) especially as the boys had to give the structure a test run before the children could be let loose on it.

The playground included a set of ‘stepping stones’, two towers, a decking platform and several stand-alone structures made up of lengths of timber set at different angles. Whilst it may all look very simple you just need to add a dash of imagination and you can have hours of fun climbing, jumping and swinging around…

The bare bones of a timber play structure with 3 access points; Just add imagination...
The bare bones of a timber play structure with 3 access points; Just add imagination...
All our staff who work on any sites where there are children, elderly people or other vulnerable groups are subject to full CRB checks
All our staff who work on any sites where there are children, elderly people or other vulnerable groups are subject to full CRB checks

Pictures from all these builds have been posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and social media is something that Arbworx has really got into this year. I know that many of you are already fans of our Facebook page and I hope that you enjoy following the team’s adventures as much as I do. If you’re on Facebook but you’re not already an Arbworx fan then you’re definitely missing out as we have some super competitions and special offers planned for the new year.

Why not take a moment and join the rest of our loyal fans and you too can share in the delights of the Arbworx ‘Hunk of the Month’, Jon’s ‘Guess the Plant’ competitions and much, much more.

Jon’s ‘Guess the Plant’ competitions feature regularly on Facebook & Twitter – here are Pittosporum tenuifolium, a beautiful salt resistant shrub which is perfect for planting out around Brighton
Jon’s ‘Guess the Plant’ competitions feature regularly on Facebook & Twitter – here is Pittosporum tenuifolium, a beautiful salt resistant shrub which is perfect for planting out around Brighton
The very colourful Alstroemeria Aurea
The very colourful Alstroemeria Aurea

We’re also active on Twitter where we not only post updates about what we’re doing, but also share links to interesting articles on gardening, landscaping and some non-garden related events and activities in Brighton and Sussex. All our Tweets are automatically uploaded onto our website as well which, if you haven’t visited already, is well worth a look. You can read about the history of Arbworx, meet the team and scroll through our project portfolio, as well as take advantage of our special offers, find out about local events for the season and discover some beautiful and original ideas for your garden on our ‘We Like’ section.

We greatly value your feedback so if there is anything you’d like to see on the site that we haven’t thought of, or if you have any comments on what’s on there at the moment we’d love to hear from you. We also have some exciting plans of our own for the website in 2011 so watch this space.

Well, that’s all from me for now; time and new arrival permitting I’ll be blogging on here more frequently from now on. In the meantime keep well and warm and continue to enjoy your gardens and the great outdoors.

Leave a Reply