How we choose the right soil blend for your project

It’s one of the crucial elements for any project, and it’s something we tackle straight up at the planning stages.
Published
20 January 2020
Division
Materials

Looking to buy soil? How we help you choose.

We sat down with the General Manger of our Services division, Jason Davenport, to pick his brain on how we go about soil choice for your next project. It didn’t take long for his horticultural expertise to come to the fore.

“It’s all about the longer term result you’re looking for, not just pumping in a load of soil to finish off the job and hand it over as quickly as possible,” Jason explains. “That’s where we start with all our clients – understanding the specific landscape requirements of the project, not just for now but into the future.”

Ask any landscape architect or landscape contractor about one of their biggest frustrations, and inevitably this one bugbear comes up – the job is handed over for completion, and 12 months later, the project hasn’t exactly been a success.

“It’s always heart-breaking to see so much hard work and great design go into a project, only to see that plants have not taken and grass areas have failed in under a year. And it’s something that could so easily be addressed at the start of the project – choosing the right soil blend.”

 

Choosing the most suitable soil from the get-go is front-of-mind for the Ecodynamics team, starting at spec with the Landscape Architect, then working closely with the Construction / Project Manager, and then on to the asset owners at handover with ongoing maintenance programs.

“Understanding the existing conditions of the site should always be the starting point,” Jason explains. “Then it’s about plotting a path to a long-term successful landscape. And this is where Ecodynamics can help.”

“Trying to cut costs by using poor quality products can compromise the total project.”

Soil science makes all the difference

It’s here that Jason’s previous experience as the Manager of Horticulture for the nationally-renowned Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne is put into practice.

“Plant selection can significantly impact the decision on what soil is required.”

“Do the plants require high organic matter? Are phosphorous levels low? Is there subsoil drainage? Is irrigation present? These are all important considerations.”

Greening the city

Long gone are the days where landscape projects existed only at ground level. With the population explosion of recent decades and increased density of our cities, the push is now on to utilise rooftops as much as possible.

The uptake and requirement of green roofs in Australia has been slow compared to other cities throughout Europe and North America, but this is all about to change as government and planners get behind the idea. The aim is to increase biodiversity, reduce the urban heat-island effect and incidents of flash flooding as plants absorb rain that would otherwise go into storm water.1

Jason is quick to explain that a green roof revolution will require a revised approach to the choice of soil used in these projects. “A soil blend for a successful rooftop project will need to have the ideal combination of low organic matter and good drainage – both horticulturists and landscape architects are going to demand this kind of soil blend. Your standard budget or turf mix simply won’t provide all the answers.”

“It’s why we developed our own Green Roof Mixes (GRM) and our Lightweight Premium Planter Mix (LPPM) for the very purpose of meeting the increased demand for projects of this nature.”

Soil Blowing – the perfect solution

Green Roof projects also present another challenge – getting the soil up into multi-level structures, quickly and effectively. The Ecodynamics blower truck fleet is more than up to the task, with 7 pneumatic blower trucks of various sizes and the experience of blowing up into buildings of 30 storeys. Ecodynamics can provide you with a cost-effective project solution

“It doesn’t make any sense, from a financial or time perspective, to deliver and install your soil any other way. Using an Alimak is cumbersome, and often won’t be able to handle the weight of a substantial soil load, not to mention it’s usually reserved for priority materials such as windows and appliances. Tower cranes aren’t the best option either – they are expensive and usually in high demand.”

Jason goes on to describe the process of installing soil into the Capitol Grand project, featuring a much-talked about elevated garden. “With a bit of ingenuity with the onsite construction crew, we installed 235m3 of soil and mulch over a week, directly into planters whilst others continued to work around us. It was a real success, ensuring the best platform for establishment of the garden.”

Ecodynamics Soil Blowing Services

3 Soil blends for one garden

Sometimes it’s not just one blend, but several required for the job, as Jason describes. “In the case of the Capitol Grand, the design called for over 100m3 of a specially designed blend for grassed areas, combined with over 70m3 Premium Planter Mix and 40m3 of Roof Garden Mix. It was the ideal job for us – we were able to install the soil into the project with ease using our blowing fleet, and work with the designers and Landscape Architects to meet the vision set by the Jack Merlo team.”

 

 

Does your project need this type of approach? You know it does!
Soil blowing into Melbourne Square Residential Development

Contact us via LiveChat right here, or drop us a message at our Contact page – we’d love to work with you on your project, making it a complete success.

1 Time for a green roof revolution in Melbourne -The Age. By Nicholas Reece and Cathy Oke,
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/time-for-a-green-roof-revolution-in-melbourne-20190604-p51ud2.html