395: Giles Heap
I was about to say it's a Friday afternoon. But won't I'm in the company of a gentleman who I have great respect for a great report. I should say Allah afternoon. Oh, that's me. I'm joyous. Charles heat from CD CD, natural stone. You might best remembered him as one of the first companies have put our hands in their pocket and said we're gonna make your trip to Chelsea to eighty in a little bit later. We get to that into show just press this putting here on the intro jingle will play. Ladies and gentlemen. Log into the sod show guide podcast. For you. Listen at home for Buchan the same car parks. That's not a little bit in college garden design placed me here was actually said, well, the ambiance sounds would be better. Now, I'm fearful that'll be a bit too much. So it's a bit windy, and I hope it's okay for you. Listen home. I'll start with the starts on a leave the intro bit till after but this series of episodes is actually supported by London college gardens. It's not by you. I did say I think it was an episode titled an impromptu Tancu on in dot it was essentially that when you're doing a podcast on a Bush it on things can be little bit. I have to give credit as company between you and Howard on on the what was to cut list on. Sure why. But you did support it. There's lots of reasons I think that the basic reason is I like what you do. I like the fact that it's an informal chats with some of the best people in the industry, and it's it's fun. You know, we need to spend a little bit more time enjoying ourselves and listening to people who've got something decent aside. And quite frankly, you do it in the NAS right now, I've kissed you RC enough next question. I like to your spin on things. But it's one thing to say I enjoy what you do. And that's always appreciated when a listener says. But when somebody says, no we're going to go a step further, which is what you did. And I'm not accepted posterior kissing. I guess I'm I'm paying you a compliment irrespectful was me or a lot of shows out there that are very full move, very plans. Very quite frankly, most of them are boring has held, and I think that something about the socio is it just encourages the that Detroit person to come out, and you as an interview you do that. And you know, we have industry we've got some great characters we really have. But you don't get to see the real Saunders them most. It's on I'll I'm lucky. I do I get to meet them get to work with them. I get to. Occasionally drink with them. And they fantastic people. But to try to understand that through a formal interview. My some big radio company or big ball costing house away and other you just don't get that feel personality and landscaping and garden design should be about personality. That's that's so, you know, it's it's it's real and to see someone like you who's doing it? The because you love it's then that semi is worthwhile. Helping out if you can't and we can look in day wasn't myself expensive. But I think it's are just think it's a great thing. If just as roles reversed extremely embarrassed go, you'd takes two photographs is actually security here has just passed waved at me. So that's destruction. Was I want to take this as I don't really have a plan. But I'd like to have a plan. I'd like to think that this if you were to plant grower plant breeder or a garden designer on the stone on services on finishing for greater has evolved massively from when I first began on people used to make their own concrete, slobs son and then little bit fancy, Dan and true, some aggregate, better known as pebbles into the top or. In some cases, I used to see seashells put into them. Can you explain to the listener at home what that was two years ago that was innovation? I think that was that was the the industry crying out for something more interesting, but it was made from a timber explained that the timber says Blimey going back. Well, I never really had that down here. It was never really a popular Cigna soon ceased, you know, and I cut my seeks down here. Really? I'd certainly been the last few years lost ten years that we've started moving over the rest of the world in a big way for those who in a home what I'm referring to is used to get four pieces of timber it essentially both them together, you'd pour concrete into the four pieces of timber which made up a square on when it set yet a concrete slop on then you decorate it, and that was a little bit domestic pre nineteen eighties or back to the Cliff Richard stuff all over again, if you had hard landscaping, that's what it was. It was may be crazy paving is it fair. Yeah. I think that's probably is fair wrestling. There wasn't a lot of choice right there. And I have to say if using. Hi, it's remember that kind of concrete set stuff, then all the ultimate. I really am. Back in the seventies. And even the early eighties. There wasn't a huge choice. It wasn't really told me that ET's when we started to to look at other other products from other parts of the world, French Cranach's where the first thing to come over, really. And then shortly after that Indian sense downs in Chinese Granitz, and then we had the whole world of to look at and with the more unusual materials that we bring over then the more people ask what have you got this? And can you find that? And what's new so now, the whole industry is driven on something new and amazing, you know, every six months, and and funny enough as you mentioned that the the concrete putting pills that's actually coming back in. Now. You know, I'm working on. I know you raise your eyebrows, I'm working on a couple of games designers landscape, dishonest commercially who wants to create that look. Not quite sure where that's going. But, but it just everything goes around what we're doing here now announced to me fat known to you. Now is that we're going through it translate essentially, an will come up to two thousand eighteen eventually a promise, but I did a garden talk to goes a couple of months ago on essentially tree hundred years of landscape design and how it's volved and when I got to the eighties. I said there was a log roll epidemic that we hit the Cobb lock pandemic. Then we went to everything was sandstone bamboo or it became decking Mbemba, then it went into grow your own which is always invariably tight in what times of recession after world wars in particular. I know we've gone to what is the new thing which has become essentially houseplants in landscaping integrate outdoors to backtrack it when we hit dot sandstone thing lasted a bit before. Started to get nerves on what I do. Remember is star was one that was extremely porous on wound that wasn't so porous and one was two cheaper quote a bit. Like the Buddha grew to forty five foot tall. I'm wasn't a flight a stack assault was a FARC UCLA which grew to maybe eight foot tall. And so I lost some jobs, which I didn't mind on on the other hand. I didn't help democrat pedantic did this and stunting it got bloody ridiculous. It got to the stage where every single garden effectively was was using Indian sense, then, but I think a lot of that was also because it some of it was awful guy called. There was some crap that came in and still is to say, but some of it's actually not too bad. But enabled people to have something a little bit different. It enabled them to have a natural stone at a point that the common God could have fooled. We hadn't had that before we just hadn't. It was your stone all York stone or possibly something from Europe. Maybe some. Stuff. But there was nothing really nationally that came in in a big way. So in the Indian stuff landed being able to buy something for twenty thirty pounds of square meter was unheard of an extra cough, and it took off in massively big way. And it still does. But nowadays, you can pick up some of it for less than ten bounded swimmers. I wouldn't say lost museum. But especially because it's too soon. But it's it's a. Oh gonna boot of it. It's been around a long time. Now. I have to say and it's time for something else. When I look the displays that CD stone hearts. The landscape show when I look at your product, brochures, online when I scroll through your website when I see the amount of gardens, you're involved with Chelsea flower show, two thousand eighteen was it was at six gardens. You an evolvement. Yeah. Those six or seven major major involvements and another half dozen also reasonably Mason involvements. And then there were people who just any speaking stuff from us because they were doing a garden at Chelsea not where we had any involvement in. If you miss a few a lot of few in. But you remember who the ones that Chelsea where Oklahoma? Now, I I get your sage almost where show she goes. And then Hampton Court happens, and you get so involved and then having to do with Hampton Court are completely forgot what happened to Chelsea. So the reality is this is literally sit down and think for ten minutes, I'm going to go. I'm bloody clue who we'd hoped chosen because it's just on. Now. Johnson snow was one. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think that dealt with her Molnar did. Oh gold. At signed by. I actually really can't remember them. No cake goals. Joe Thompson, currently former guest to the show. Maybe if they did something others would turn around and say, well, inverted commas, quote unquote, want that Chelsea look and say, well, the stone that I used is x from CD in Johnston snows case, probably at least Nick sample on main avenue. Chelsea do you have or have you seen a rise in requests dot stone? That maybe Johnson used as a result of that suet degree. Yes. You do. I think a lot of it depends on more on general trends, I mean I've worked with a number of times. And I find that some of the. Designs and ideas that comes through if they're not. Completely off the wall. Lots of it's been done already. Now. I'm lucky in the working with people like K enjoyed they do tend to come up with unusual ideas. And for me. That's that's a great challenge. So they they give me a joy in the guy. I want to make that I'm once I've picked myself back off the floor and stop laughing. Then we find a way to make it happen. I mean, they're good. A good example is actually at the garden at tempting courts last year. And we did the walled garden with him. And he came to me, and he said, well, I want to create this garden, and this is what I've sketched down, and it was instantly apparent to me that the ways to deal with this was to create sloshed border. So we base it took a big eight and a half ton border and sliced into paving. And that was perfect for what he wanted and we've been doing sauce boats for a few years quietly. But since then I've seen more and more and more people start to you use this loss boulders. Indeed, I think we had a couple of gardens. I had sliced. But what is in them and more people are starting to realize actually, this is quite nice because it's Cannock sort of shape and your question about trans earlier the trend. I'm now seeing is designs moving more away from very very Tanggula square straight lines back into a little bit more organic movements. Now, what does that song of our times? And maybe we get a little bit fed up with being told what to do all the time. But the trend I'm seeing and actually I mean Kandasamy people moving towards launch. Are they want to say crazy paving, but crise paving for broader year or so on suspect that's something that will come through and so on, but it's not material choice. It's a it's a design choice design chain. Because there isn't really a little new that's coming in unless you wanna talk about porcelain, which it's a big toil there along are you working with CD are how long you into stone in the CD for twenty three years. I worked for a Corey before that for year. I was asked dads come into the company when I was about twenty two and I said, I'm not coming in a list of fines unless I can bring something to the business. I'm previously to that. I'd been publican three pubs in and around London. I'd been a doorman bodyguards diplomatic chauffeur postman by my managed a petrol station. Yeah. Yeah. Standard stuff for a few years a little bit weird. And he said, look, can you can you come and join up with some help. So I said, well, you don't want to doing that. But I don't know anything really about the industry other than the, you know, the fourteen very strange family holidays that we have when I was a kid like, you know, a week in the fjord in Norway. So that we could glossier mostly because you really wanted to see the stone quarry that was next door. He said, okay, that's fine. So be rains for me to spend nine months in London. The half months working in a quarry in Yorkshire, which was fantastic for me. Don't get me wrong. Nearly killed me because that's really hard work. But I did I spent nine months working in the quarry learning from the quarry and who's a true old fashioned quarrymen Kaku Yeltsin, and I learnt more in that nine months about stone most probably ever since. I learned how to look at it. I learned how to understand it to see it to quarry it. How to produce it? How to? Understand. Why does what it does? And and that familiar was was an amazing learning, and I didn't realize how much I learn until I've been in the industry for few years when I started it all started to come together from the finish the fraud evening. Hon back down to Brentwood on the Monday morning. I was up at five drug tonight stung to work on science outside mainstone town homeless happens. And it turns out I was laying the Orquesta paving, the same York stone paving, I'd loaded on a lorry the Friday before and that was kinda cool because I am not watch it come out of the ground and be processed light. She did that. And then I actually helped to lay it. So I learned I spent about three months on sites on the signing a little bit about contracting as well. And I also instant very much. I really hate early mornings. And that's never going away. And they're not doing enough been there with twenty three years. What's the biggest change give you a funny one this conversation, maybe recently about carrots? And so, yeah, I'm trying to give one that's entirely different foot that they went from being on the supermarket shelf, which was just any car. It's grade one two three into a bag songs to wear and totally bruised unblemished to all the same size all the same to all pre washed. And then we came in an organic era where the green parts of the car, it was being left on European laid loose. It was almost like full circle again back to the old grocer shops, except that we were in a supermarket when I look at the stone ranges now that I don't need to go to a garden center to pick up tree slobs on Mike Rifter. Well, chopper that was the one I want. Now, you couldn't put these types on Trump. All simple to those give everybody wanted to be Dennis hopper. This is to stone stuff. When I go back and look at that. Now, still say above all things you can turn around and say, well, we've got a okay he Iraqi answer in choosed anymore. You can say, well, maybe wanted to choices, you know. We've got new variety Halley bore or Heller snores some people call them, but orca Tony Oster, whatever floats your boat. Drawn are probably the classical in that have changed from the old mop pets into the Annabel's on when a look at stone. It's the most understated least amount of interviews. I've ever done ever. This is probably the first one on it on a surface or on a product that we bought you so much of therefore den now up to speed within those twenty three years. How has it changed? Because even how they Mark bonds had marked music had his sell music. Everything has changed massively on in your department. I might earn at about a new stone slob if. Are you subscribed to English garden magazine ordered dot by mail order? I didn't see anything about it. It's one thing that saints now industry. I think it's the same in every industry, and that's digital marketing. And that that has changed the way that companies supplies like house and designers inclines can search for and look at new materials. I it's unfortunate. It seems to be more important to have a good digital brand than it does to have a good service or good knowledge. And I the one thing I've seen the loss of last four hundred ten years. Definitely lost four of us are a lot of online companies and branding themselves in the same way. That apple did, you know everyone. Wow. This is amazing. It's best thing. Actually, it's not exactly the same. It's just in the different packaging and after Tom notice good. I've seen a lot of that. But I think that the Mathu himselves they don't try and stone doesn't really change. You can't grow a new stone. You can't grow any type species. It just doesn't happen. You can want people to find something you. But even that's been around a few million years. The truth is stone doesn't really change much. What does change changes the ability to find materials or stones that we haven't had before? In that case. I think it is a lot easier to do that because of the internet. But also a lot easier to get the wrong stuff because of the internet. So it's one of its outside a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. And I think there's quantum more a lot more sources now than ever used to be. But I don't think they will necessarily very good ones. The biggest change I've seen is not actually to with stone. It's to do with the understand if construction with stone fifty years ago one hundred years ago, everything we used to lay was unbound. We didn't have cement mortars. We didn't use them. Not particularly after the war. We had not. In but concrete, and then everything had to be bound. So we have to submit Malta's nowadays absolutely this quantity Bush towards unbound. In other words, no cement in your motor Lang stuff loose. That's I'm starting to see more of it starting to come around again. So from a general change materials on trains, you can't honk road him. But we're now started to look at maybe we did before and go actually that worked quite well because we got a couple of streets all over the UK. Ada being down for two hundred years is what you're getting up. I'll give you a funny when a saw I don't know. I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I was waiting to speak to a client. I don't know who the guy was a apologize. Sincerely. But he had a crack between paving on a piece of timber, which I got was a her bed, and you grabbed a handful of compost or soil and run it down to crack stomped it in and true, some lettuce seats on you know, that's not for picking comb again to the Stott dot went on a slide show vote tree. Four years ago where the amount of from cartons in London in particular dot were being concreted in which I think was something like eighty football pitches per on them on how it was outing towards the flooding in London on at the time. I remember reading about them designing to go underground on rotted on just going down. So to water wind straight down. The quickest point away are putting a swirl or two are independent too late water hitting where they wanted to go. I remember to this is crazy. It's it's notes however living in London on having lived in London saying I recommend it. But I kind of white people would concrete in everything in order to get an extra car in the next level on the house and don't make London LTd ninety Moore's my dad used to say is what you're suggesting that whole porosity left the waterfall down through that consideration for the environment. Not knowing where to stone has come from. Now, we also sell porous Kabul on porous stones to allow water. At least perforate true is is that what you're getting that. We're being a bit more considerate of what's happening around is or as womb client said to me when my daughter at six years of age say mom, you need to plan to clear, and I'm having a horticultural disagreement with the with the six year old, you know, you're heading towards the right place. Yeah. I think I we would come to the fact that we need to look at what we're doing in the world, you know, ten years ago took all to land in especially into London. Yeah. We have some pretty heavy floods. Ears. But from that all the councils went hang on. We've got to have Saad sustainable, urban drainage systems, whatever the called, and it will become legal. You know, you have to find a way to make sure that any water that landed on your premises site on your premises. If at all possible. From that the industry has been driven to find solutions. You gets restrain, you know, as one of those solutions is it the right one who knows, but it enabled people aren't myself and other landscape designs, go hang on a minute. Why don't we just let water let rain drains for the surface? There are ways of doing it. And I was ways of being develops and understood better. And now says we're not only can we have an unbound surface. That is permeable we also have bound services which opponent. So we can have hard concrete standing or hard paved standing which allows huge amounts of rain to wash through it straight since the ground. So the environmental issues that we had ten years ago. I think actually made a stink. Well, they have made us think. What can we do to make it better on top of that? Yes. There's a much greater awareness of environmental pressures more seven year old. She's the same. She came home from school last week and said to me daddy. Can we stop using plastic lose? No. But we can try to reduce it. We can't physically stop because so much that we do is based around plastic and to be honest. It's okay. I'm going to be a bit controversial. We sell plastic graphs. We sell competent woods because we have to. But the landscape industry stands up and shouts out so much about we've got to be sustainable. We've got to look at environment. And yet we're actually using more and more mastic in screams. That's a little bit hypocritical. Now, I have to stand here sites. You know? I'm also Ambra hypocritical because I do so some do solid official gross. And we do so compass it would and actually they sell very well. And there's a place for is. But when you walk around a lot of exhibitions and a third of the exhibition is based around plastic products. You have to ask yourself are we actually going into direction here, or is it just an addiction to an easy landscape? That's actually a really tricky question on off to be honest, which it we didn't have a script for this. Because I wouldn't have put this in there. No soldiers hidden hall in between us, I probably didn't pick location to Indy cited the city is they picked do give you credit on raise into question. I'm placing yourself slapped buying in the middle of an you could have I guess on the other hand just used this as a bit of an odd for to'real on all you might edited it entirely and just left some nice bits in a I wouldn't do a home. But that's goes back to what you originally say. Which is you know, what the show is? And how it rolls anyway. Yeah. Exactly. I know if I'm going to say something it's going to go out there. So I'm being redeployed on. But I I'm putting myself in the middle of a little bit. There's a lot of questions about the ethics behind stone. As a lot of questions about the ethics behind concrete, gross, plastics. I should say, and we can all come up with a great own son. But really St. win. It comes down to it to me. The most important thing is if you're going to do something make sure you only have to do it once whatever you're gonna use. It'd be natural stone or concrete or plastic gross. All plastic would make sure it's the best one you can get and it's gonna lost. Because it has nothing worse in my mind, then a client spending between five and five hundred thousand pounds on on a designer we're going and it was. That's falling apart and a few years that is unsustainable. So if you got do it do it properly ROY stuff any, you know, artificial grosses stuff in that particular area Joe for it. But make sure it's one that. That's you're gonna lost. I wanted to ask you got two questions ahead. No. It was only going to ask. And what stone have you got your own buck garden? Funny. I've just moved. Absolutely love, and I detest the patio which is Indian paving and the house I had before had Indian paving, which I also didn't put down. So when she gets her stays when I can afford to change it because I can't, and I know how much buddy will costs. I will change it for something else. I would actually probably choose tied importantly, humble opinion, this policy one of the nicest stones in the world, you've got Ross between the suitcase or briefcase and a medical operate and kit us, it's like something though. Making a phone call. He's not getting which looked. Oh, yeah. You suitcase. Yeah. No. I'm going to get one of them and stuff talking what I'm trying to talk to do is five to sound professionals. Do you know who I am do, you know, who I made you? Playing role reversal here. Okay. If you if I'm going, okay? I. I've lost Matola trade noted medical, Casey. Now, I'm going to look I'm going to stop you're doing it. Again. We'd be like a bad Bill actor and say I'm going to look as well to do. I've got a photograph. And I'll stick it out on this art show in scrammed thing. But if you're stuck for on eating you said in between here on you wanna get into CD stone on a no we've played devil's advocate on we've dilly-dallied and we've had a bit a crack. Yeah. I hope that this would be a good inverted commerce industry conversation. And I I think it has I've tried not to be too. I think you've not been too kind to yourself as well. It's yeah. Yeah. Okay. We all what we all. And you know, none of us are God's. But we do have to do the best. We can. And as long as we do the best. We can all we cannot trying to us hills. That's not a was it gets really boring. I really hard work. So if you call a crack, what's the point? Is he from CD stone? It's been a real pleasure. Always good to see an always good to sit in your company, and you have a great team around here on. It's a real pleasure. Thank you so much. It's you have to say something that same is what that my my companies an amazing company, but it's only amazing because of the people that are in it. And I know that sounds really cliche, but we're very lucky. We've got some of the best people. I think working for us. And I wouldn't be where I am. Now if it wasn't for them. So actually, this is this is a shoutout to those guys. I think they've done they do a great job, and I just hope to carry on believing. So you're making this phone call is. We. Reached on the Judy is to okay, we have to get follows the first person to stone company of of bought a coffee for ever Cup. Chino, my policies on the heritage just a genuinely because I'm gonna leave it at that. He's in the middle of making this phone call it takes some folks. I have a great weekend on cheers, pre shut it. Thanks for you.