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Getting ahead for 2022 – Landscape

11 Feb 2022

Project plans for the year are stacking up on your desk and December feels like a million miles away. But, as we all know too well, the months tend to slip away, and we’ll be in and out of our sunglasses and beachwear in a blink.  

Now is the time to scrub up on your landscape requirements for 2022 and keep your projects on track.  

After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish. 

In this blog, we’ll share: 

  • Changes you should be aware of 
  • How upcoming changes may impact your project 
  • How and when to plan your landscape requirements for 2022 

We’ll also teach you how to get the best out of your landscape architects and planners, so that you can feel prepared when you have a new plan on the horizon. 

All sounds very exciting, doesn’t it?  

We’ve broken it down for you to make it go down as easy as a spoon full of sugar. 

Read on to learn more about new laws and regulations, how they’ll impact you and how to get the best results from our partnership in the year ahead. 

A brief recap

2021 brought us a lot in the world of legislature. Lots to digest, lots to learn and lots to consider. 

Before we look forward to how you can prepare for what’s to come in 2022, let’s have a brief recap.  

The Government introduced a 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, highlighting the importance of green growth to achieve strong economic recovery. If you’re unsure as to what we’re on about, this PDF supplied by the government should give you more of an idea. 

Biodiversity was high on the agenda too, with a biodiversity net gain (BNG) standard of 10% being set in The Environment Act 2021. (If you can’t quite remember the details, here is our blog explaining it in more detail). 

Whilst lots of other small changes came into play in the world of landscape planning and architecture in 2021, we promised you brief and we’ll leave those for our experts to debate. 

Onto 2022. 

What can we expect from 2022?

In 2022, there are three key pieces of legislation coming into place: 

  • Planning for the Future 
  • Levelling Up 
  • The Planning Bill 

‘Planning for the Future’

The ‘Planning for the Future’ white paper appeared in 2020 and promised a complete system overhaul. It set out plans to speed up the planning process through digitalisation. No easy feat.  

It will mean that online visual local plans, interactive maps and data will be used – rather than faffing around with countless documents and stacks of paper. This will help with efficiency, speedy access to information and reduce potentially wasteful printing; that’s a cheer from us, and the planet! 

We are pretty excited about this, and a £1.1m fund announced by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP to pilot the scheme across 10 local areas brings us hope.  

What else does this white paper mean? 

  • Local communities will be consulted right from the start of the planning process. 
  • Local housing plans will be agreed more quickly- moving from the current 7 years, to 30 months. 
  • A nationally set tax on the land value uplift that results from the grant of planning permission. This comes as a result of the new ‘Infrastructure Levy’. Have a look at the government guidance here to learn a bit more about this levy. 
  • More building on brownfield land will be permitted. 
  • All new streets will be tree-lined – this sounds lovely, doesn’t it? 
  • Local design guidance will mean that beautiful communities will be both built and preserved. 
  • In order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, new homes should be built to be ‘zero carbon ready’. Compared to current levels, such houses should produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions. 

And breathe… 

There’s quite a bit to digest here but we promise this is the chunkiest bit of legislature to get your head around.  

Maybe grab a cup of tea to read the rest if you need a moment. 

‘Levelling Up’

The Levelling Up White Paper sets out plans to boost opportunities and livelihoods post-pandemic. This involves 12 national levelling up missions for spreading prosperity across the nation, all to be achieved by 2030. 

Key takeaways for the field are: 

  • Much of the £1.8 billion brownfield funding is set to be diverted from London and the South-East to transforming brownfield sites in the North and Midlands.  
  • More genuinely affordable social housing is to set to be built in line with a new Social Housing Regulation Bill. 
  • Public transport connectivity is also set to be improved over the country to be in line with that of London- that should mean less congestion and overall fewer carbon emissions. 
  • Improvements will be made to the planning system, giving local councils the freedom to regenerate land and deliver more affordable housing. 

Pretty promising stuff, especially for those of us north of London! 

‘The Planning Bill’

Despite being put on hold when Michael Gove was appointed housing secretary, the Planning Bill is set to be refreshed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, (previously the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government). The goal of the bill is to streamline and speed up the housing development approval process.  

What reforms can we expect? 

  • Simplifying and speeding up the approval process for housing development in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. (Here’s a bit more info about the framework). 
  • Introducing a zonal system classifying land for growth, renewal, or protection. This will mean that land in growth areas would gain automatic planning permission if they had gone through the process and the community had approved it, and land in renewal areas would be granted permission in principle. 

Rest assured; our experts will be keeping their eyes peeled for any updates. We’ll be ready to support with your project queries as soon as the paper has been refreshed and released.

When to schedule your landscape needs for 2022

Such changes bring implications to those at all levels, so it is important to gage how to best prepare and ensure the smooth running of all your projects – before you have the deadline nipping at your heels. Whilst we don’t know how these will exactly play out, we can provide some best practice suggestions to help you stay on track with your plans. 


In terms of photography, for many projects, you may need winter photography to support your project. We’d recommend you get in touch now, before the trees start growing their leaves back, or risk having to wait until much later in the year to crack your woolliest pair of gloves out.  

We’re not just recommending this because our experts love the cold, crisp mornings (although, we won’t dispute that). We’re recommending this because winter photography gives a worst-case scenario and the best impression of how far away the site can be seen, with views not being obstructed by vegetation. 

Getting your winter photography organised for upcoming projects now can help you get ahead. 


Whilst you can shove some plants in the ground at any time of year, there is a peak season for many varieties. We recommend grabbing a cosy raincoat and planting your larger hedges, trees, shrubs in Autumn, when it’s colder and rainier. 

Why, you ask? Planting in autumn means less maintenance is required, so you can put your feet up a bit! It also acts as a treat for pollinators as food becomes scarcer. It’s a win-win really. 

Involving an expert 

When we asked our team when the right time to lean on a landscape expert was, they said YESTERDAY. Whilst there is some predictable seasonality to needs across the year, we can’t stress enough that each project is different. That’s why it’s crucial to get your landscape architects involved in the first stages of a project- even before master planning. 

Why? Well, you can map out your needs earlier which helps with timelines, planning and budgeting. It helps you get the right help at the start, rather than stumbling across a hurdle and having your project held up. 

By getting us involved early, we can: 

  • Provide a better picture of the site area available for development, which in turn will give a better indication of land value to its owners. 
  • Help those involved be aware of any risks of the site which will save you money in the long run! 
  • Support you in getting the green infrastructure principles in early to inform the master plan. 

How else can you make the most of your landscape projects this year?

Your project is exciting to all who are involved; everyone wants it to be a success. So we thought we’d write a little tip sheet on how to be the best client. 

Not only will this facilitate the smooth running of your project, but it will make life easier for you, and all of those working on it. 

What you can do: 

Be honest about your budget! 

  • It’s easier than you might think to fall into the trap of misdelivering a budget, but this will just end up being more costly to you in the long run.  
  • Be open at all stages so your team can deliver a project that uses your budget as effectively as possible. 

Trust your team. 

  • Your project is your baby, which is why your team will want to deliver it just as you wish. So try to trust those who are handling it.  
  • Open and honest conversations help to build this trust, and these will be welcomed with open arms. 
  • Projects are often misunderstood, so landscape architects work hard to make their cases robust to avoid plans being rejected. 
  • So whilst there are some things you may not understand, it is completely fine because they are experts! Having faith in them will make the process a lot less stressful for you, and for them. 

Have a laugh. 

  • At the end of the day, any relationship works best when you can have fun. So make your working relationship with your team one that allows you all to get excited about your project together. 

What now?

We appreciate this is a lot to take in, but we hope we’ve made things a bit simpler to understand.  

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for any changes and updates in the coming weeks and months, and keep you in the loop. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions, or if you have a project that you’d like our help with, then be sure to get in touch. 

Just drop us a line at 

We’d love to work with you. 

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