The Awards encourage emerging trends by redevelopment of existing landscapes towards a more sustainable approach. It is more than a mere rejuvenation of the garden, it demands a radical change where the landscape style, character and associated inputs are “recycled” into a more sustainable environment with an ecological aesthetic. This can be achieved through a once-off, high impact redevelopment, or a gradual, phased restoration supplementary to the maintenance contract. It is encouraging to see that this trend is often contractor-driven, and not prescribed by a client brief. It is an indication of an evolving industry, one that is willing to revisit past practices in order to improve.
The SALI Awards of Excellence process evolves, in order to stay current with new trends, improve the viability of some categories and to deal with the increased number of entries in an appropriate way.
This year the awards inspired all involved to explore, experiment, evolve, and exceed expectations.
A Word From Morne Faulhammer, SALI National Judge:
Once again the SALI principle members have excelled in the work that has been showcased for this years awards. It is prudent to remember that the awards are not only a way of showing clients the outstanding work being done, but that they act as a barometer to the contractors of how their work stacks up within the industry.
Last year I highlighted the effects of the devastating drought experienced across the country. Despite the trying set of circumstances I am proud to announce that SALI received a total of 208 entries for this years awards of excellence compared to the 144 for the previous year – a remarkable increase of 45%.
As the important issue of water usage has once again been highlighted by the drought ,it was decided that the previous category “Water Wise” which up to last year had been a voluntary entry, be included as a automatic entry in all categories except specialised landscape construction. The results have been overwhelmingly positive with 75 entries achieving a gold award in this category. This acts as in indicator that what had been considered a water wise practice twenty years ago is now regarded as a common landscape standard. The water wise result of a project will now be reflected on the award certificate.
Of the 208 entries received this year a total of 95 projects were evaluated during the national round.
The largest number of projects was entered into the landscape and Turf Maintenance category with 73 entries (45 in 2016). This once again shows the importance of having a strong developed team of personnel that can offer SALI clients more that just the “Mow, blow and go” service so often associated with landscape maintenance.
The overall number of entries received in the other categories were as follows:
• Landscape Construction with design by others : 43 (32 in 2016)
• Landscape Construction with In-house Design :36 (29 in 2016)
• Specialised Turf Construction : 7 (10 in 2016)
• Specialised Landscape Construction : 28 (15 in 2016)
• Environmental Landscape : 14 (4 in 2016)
The increase seen in the number of entries in the In-house design category is encouraging as it is in this category that we often see the most creative work being undertaken. I certainly hope that this is an indication of a future trend as the selection of plants usually used on these projects are of a more adventurous nature. And as I have stated before, new plant species need to be utilized to expand a contractors plant pallet. This is a vital part of landscaping helping us expand the diversity of our flora. The practice of “Conservation through cultivation” should be a priority when drawing up suitable plant lists.
During this years national round of judging I was truly amazed at the diverse range of disciplines that are required from a SALI contractor. The amount of specialised hard landscaping ,that fringes on civils work, that it increasingly required to be undertaken by contractors in an competitive market place needs to be recognised and applauded. As this type of work increases it might be necessary for SALI to broaden their scope of the minimum specifications document to include guidelines for this ever-increasing scope of work.
With this all said we must remember that the awards are a huge undertaking by the SALI regions and the national office. A big thank you to all those involved including the ever-increasing number of regional judges that give up so much of their time and expertise to assist in the process of putting together this prestigious ceremony.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of this process – a honour I take to hart by trying to help improve the standing and standards of this very special industry.
Congratulations to all the award recipients
For more on this event please visit www.sali.co.za