Today we welcomed over 40 landscapers, garden designers and industry professionals to our London Stone Depot near Slough. The purpose of the Open Day was to provide an insight into how London Stone operates day to day.
We started with walk around the site and then continued with a tour of the nearby Bespoke Stone Center. There was plenty of time for everyone to network, share ideas and discuss their businesses over lunch. Everyone had the opportunity see our machinery in operation and ask Steven and Gavin specific questions.
The beginning of the landscaping stone journey
Our day began with a tour of the depot, where Gavin Walley, Sales Director explained how the stock is handled from its arrival from the supplier to loading ready for delivery to the customer. We were shown the samples section where a collection of samples is compiled for garden designers and landscapers to use during discussions with their clients of the most appropriate materials for paving for their project. This set of small examples allows the homeowner to see the range and filter their choice prior to ordering larger samples or the final order. Each sample is labelled with the available sizes and finishes, together with a QR code which links to more details on the website. (More information on sample boxes)
Much of our depot is under cover which protects the stone from the weather. This is particularly important as it ensures that the nails in the pallets do not rust and mark the expensive paving’s surface. We take every effort to deliver the paving to the customer in the best possible condition. Of course, being a natural product, there are slight variations in the colour and texture of the individual slabs and that is part of its beauty.
On arrival at the depot containers are unloaded and a sample of slabs is taken from the consignment and examined for quality control purposes. This is all part of our customer service. Any unacceptable deliveries are replaced by our suppliers.
The day continued with lunch at a local pub where everyone had a chance to get to know one better and discuss trends in the industry. We were pleased to welcome Phil Tremayne from the HTA and Shaw Pye from BALI, representing two of our main industry bodies, as well as Rose Hales, Deputy Editor of ProLandscaper.
Phil gave us some feedback: “I felt the day was an excellent opportunity for contractors and designers to get a real understanding of the process that goes into delivering the product they use for their fantastic designs and projects. London Stone were exceptional hosts and it was excellent they supplied their time and expertise into explaining everything. The APL were very pleased to be given the opportunity to attend and displays the value of associations in the market place, working with the whole industry.”
Stone cut to your specification
The afternoon was spent at the Bespoke Stone Center where Paul, our Production Manager, showed his passion for the way in which stone can be cut and finished for bull nose step treads, copings, pier caps, pool surrounds - in fact, most shapes can be tailored to our customers' specifications.
The visitors were impressed with the extensive computer-controlled cutting machinery which we have installed at the Centre. The computer numerical control machine enables us to minimise wastage when cutting complex shapes from one piece of stone by optimising the layout. Our Edge Profiler allows us to cut bull nose edges to a specified profile. But not all our processes are automated. Sometimes there is no substitute for the craftsmanship required to finish a perfect pier cap or bespoke finish.
Finishing for a perfect result
Cutting the stone is not the end of the story. The prepared stones are washed, left to dry and then sealed with a stain-proof sealant before packing and delivery. We were joined by Gary Timpson and David Coster from Dry-Treat who supply our preferred sealing product.
We have already received compliments from some of our guests and are planning an even better event next time. Daniel Gillings, of DC Landscapes said: “Had a thoroughly enjoyable day at London Stone on Thursday, touring around the facilities. Amazing to see the processes, attention to detail and care that the whole team put into the product we finally get to place down. It’s nice to close the loop and be able to explain the processes to our clients.”
So, if you are interested in coming ‘behind the scenes’ at London Stone, please get in touch. You will be most welcome.