Planting & Floral Displays

Planting in town centres is always popular with the public, helps to introduce seasonal colour to urban settings and can improve air quality.


Trees and floral displays can soften public spaces, providing movement, colour and contrast, and bring a different quality of life to a street. Effective planting should take account of the local environment. It is essential that care be taken over the species of trees which are planted since some trees can damage property, block out light and obstruct views as they mature. Make sure your trees don’t obscure the sight lines for CCTV. If well trimmed, trees can also be a visual asset during the winter and therefore should be pruned so as to preserve their basic branch structure.


Flower towers, troughs, baskets and displays can provide splashes of colour throughout town centres most of the year. By selecting suitable seasonal plants it is possible to have something blooming from spring through autumn. It is very important that these are carefully maintained, as neglected floral displays can quickly start to look unpleasant.


Some town centre partnerships run floral schemes where businesses purchase one or more baskets or troughs for their property from a local supplier who looks after the whole thing for them including providing and checking the brackets as well as plants. Others get lamp column baskets sponsored by town centre businesses in exchange for a small name plaque, but check with your public lighting provider (usually the local Highways authority) first as not all columns can take the weight and there are limits to the size of sign allowed. Every additional planter helps to extend the displays beyond the publicly owned spaces. Roundabouts are another prime spot for planting displays, and in some cases can attract sponsorship.


The increasing popularity of growing your own fruit and vegetables has led to some towns planting edible plants in their parks and green spaces. Incredible Edible, the best known example of this is Todmorden in Lancashire where you will find a vast assortment of edible plants growing in all manner of places throughout the town.


The annual Britain in Bloom competition can provide a real stimulus to using natural and growing things to make our environments more attractive and pleasant to be in. In many towns the Bloom competition will be led by a small group of green fingered volunteers who will be delighted to gain the support of their Town Centre Manager or local partnership. Winning a local, regional or even the national competition for your category of town can be a real boost to local pride and to wider perceptions of the town.