Willowbrook Landscapes was formed in 1979 as a partnership between Stephen Holmes and Angus Gordon.
Steve and Angus first met whilst completing their training at West Park in Long Eaton: Steve was attending Askam Bryan college in Yorkshire, doing an HND Land & Hort Tech, while Angus was finishing his City and Guilds in Horticulture at Broomfield College Derby.
With similar interests they became friends and had several conversations along the lines of ‘someday I would like to start my own business’. They did this in 1979 and 36 years later it’s still going strong.
At the start they had very little money for tools and equipment, but managed to purchase a 1968, ex RAF Ford Transit on which Angus painstakingly painted the business name. Other essentials acquired included basic hand tools and a spirit level – which we still have today!
They worked to build up a customer base and eventually took the plunge to go full time, finding just enough work to carry on.
By the early 1980s things had progressed to needing more staff; two apprentices were taken on and our first commercial maintenance contract was won. This massively aided the direction of the business, defining a clear division between commercial maintenance and design and construction, which was mainly on the domestic side. About this time it became apparent that the skills of Angus and Steve needed to develop to suit the growing needs of the business, Angus spent many hours keeping the vehicles and equipment in good working order and Steve was the one who had to do the administration, all in addition to working on site.
In 1985 Angus’s wife Jane was asked if she would ‘do some filing and bookkeeping’. After agreement, delivery was taken for of one of two Amstrad Computers, Steve received the second. More than 30 years later Jane is our Company Secretary.
In 2000 we joined the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL); a short while later we entered one of our domestic construction projects into their annual awards scheme. We were successful in one of the low maintenance garden categories. We had further success in 2008 with a housing association project in Leicester.
In 2014 we entered our recently completed “Donor Garden” at Nottingham City Hospital and have reached the final stages of the competition. Following the assessment by the APL judges we were thrilled to announce that we won our category entry for this project bringing our award total to 3.
We are developing the company and constantly adapting to the changes in legislation, technology and fashion. Our much valued staff are continually training to carry the business forward using the latest equipment and techniques as well as design and management software.