Learnings: Architectural Landscape Design
My Archtectural Landscape Design Business
I founded Hosta Consulting in 2012 after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a degree and a keen interest in landscape design for urban areas and so developed a design consultancy that offers greening solutions to enhance spaces for commercial clients. The main aims of the business are to design landscapes that help mitigate the effects of climate change with the city, increase opportunities for biodiversity and encourage human-nature interaction. Naturally, there have been challenges!
My main challenge was to take all of the research about the benefits of green infrastructure in urban environments – and actually do something with it! I wanted to have a business that would benefit the community and start to tackle the challenges of climate change, therefore bringing together my design flair and environmental knowledge made sense. We ensure the key focus of each project is sustainability, biodiversity and good design. When clients know they are getting much more than just an attractive garden, it makes our offering easier to sell. So we are always trying to educate people; whether it be our clients, their staff, other professions or the general public through are online blogs or social media. That’s definitely something I’ve learnt; you need to sell the value and the benefits that come from the product, not just the product itself. Even if you think your product is great, you need to get into the mind frame of your customers and how it provides solutions for them.
Growing the Business
The company has managed to expand considerably over the past year. We have been part of a successful Creative Quarter Articulture community art and horticulture project (which placed in the Nottingham Post Environment Awards), secured a four year contract with housing organisation Nottingham City Homes and employed two full time graduates.
Starting my own company and being my own boss has been so rewarding, and I would encourage anyone considering it to go for it! All I would say is that in the first couple of years, you never really stop working – but persevere! I think money is what worries people the most, the trick is to grow at a rate that is sustainable. In addition it’s always good to keep an eye on grants that are available as these can be a big help, especially when trying to scale up.
It is also important to take a step back and realise you cant do it all. Never be afraid to ask for help, as often these conversations are the ones that can build strong working relationships and allow to get advice from those who have already been through the process of starting a small business.
We hope to continue to grow the business in the next couple of years and take on interns and apprenticeship from the local area. Our goal is to implement more green roofs around Nottingham and make it a greener place.
To find out more about our work and information on green infrastructure visit our website at hostaconsulting.co.uk or follow us on twitter @hostaconsulting.
Helen Taylor, Director.