News - Sustainable Landscape Designs

Petrow Harley - News - Sustainable Landscape Designs

News Release

14th March 2020

Petrow Harley embraces sustainable landscape designs

Landscape architects are concerned with the planning and design of outdoor space that embraces the environmental issue of sustainability; this includes not only the design but follows through to the construction and management of all outdoor spaces to support a long-term ecological balance.

At Petrow Harley, we strongly believe that a sustainable landscape should follow the five principles of design:

  •     1. Design to be visually attractive
  •     2. Functional
  •     3. Environmentally sound
  •     4. Require minimal resource inputs to maintain
  •     5. Cost-effective

As part of a sustainable mindset, the design process should seek to preserve limited resources, reducing waste, and preventing air, water and soil pollution, which includes the retention of existing landscape features and habitats as well as creating a new one.

The main goals of our sustainable landscape design are to conserve water and energy, reduce waste and decrease run-off. To achieve these goals, we should treat water as a resource, value soil, preserve existing plants and conserve material resources.

Sustainable urban drainage system

A sustainable urban drainage system can: improve habitats for fauna and flora, improve recreational facilities, and add flooding water run-off

The objective is to use the landscape to absorb and attenuate the rainwater run-off and reduce the amount of run-off entering drains, which in times of heavy rainfall can contribute to the overloading of the drainage system. In turn, reducing volume of surface water run-off and peak flow that may cause surface flash flooding.

In essence, the rain garden utilises the combined effects of soil and vegetation to replicating the sort of processes that would happen to rainfall in a natural landscape, as opposed to what happens with the predominantly hard surfaced urban environment.

Rain gardens also offer the opportunity to grow a wide range of attractive plants that are beneficial to insects and birds. They are fun and beautiful features in their own right.

Permeable paving materials to reduce stormwater run-off, allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground and replenish groundwater.

Incorporate sustainable harvested timber with an FSC Chain of Custody certification, which is naturally renewable, into sustainable landscape designs. Over 90% of timber used in UK construction comes from Europe, where more trees are grown than are harvested, the forests act as carbon sinks and wood products act as carbon stores.


New planting can take the form of energy-efficient design in the way of proper placement and selection of shade trees and the creation of windbreaks, it can increase carbon storage reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to increase plant and animal biodiversity.

Petrow Harley’s sustainable approach is to assess the existing plant material and preserve native plants and those that are providing nectar and habitat for local fauna. To use plants that are well-suited to the location, such as soil type, shade, sun exposure, by using the correct plant for the specific environment helps plants perform better with limited additional input.

Selecting the right plant for the right place will create a landscape that thrives with minimal effort, is biodiverse, beautiful and sustainable.

The Green Room

Petrow Harley was commissioned to design a vertical planting scheme for outside bar area at The Green Room near Waterloo Station.

The Green Room is a neighbourhood diner, bar and garden serving ethically sourced British food and a collaboration between the National Theatre and local social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders.

The brief was to extend the theme to the outdoor area. The Green Room, a contemporary outdoor space, was created using props and scenery from National Theatre performances, the designers utilised used pallets transforming them into vertical planters.

Each pallet was previously and secured with recycled timber uprights; some front-facing timbers removed to form planting pockets which were lined and filled with peat-free compost.

The plants were chosen from a palette of wildflowers, seasonal herbs and flowering annuals to form vertical flowering display using plants that can tolerate dry conditions.

A project that demonstrates sustainable landscape design embracing the environmental requirements, incorporating planting schemes to encourage biodiversity while addressing sustainability and climate change.