At Ian Barker Gardens, we pride ourselves on helping all of our employees fulfil their future dreams and openly encourage career development, wherever that may take them. We’re thrilled to say that we still work with many of our past employees, and Dave Bascombe is one of them.
After seven years working as a landscaper in the Ian Barker Gardens construction team, Dave took a leap of faith and launched his own landscape construction company, Green Exteriors. Green Exteriors specialise in high-end residential construction aimed at achieving a contemporary and unique product.
We sat down with Dave to discuss why he became a landscaper, his time at Ian Barker Gardens and the challenges of becoming a business owner.
I started landscaping during the summer after I had finished year 12. I had always planned on going to university to study photography, but during the holidays, a family friend asked me to give them a hand at landscaping, and I haven’t looked back since! I began working as a casual labourer and then started my apprenticeship for four years.
I started with Ian Barker Gardens as a qualified landscaper in 2012 and worked with the company for just under seven years.
The flower shows! They are extremely long hours and hard work but totally worth it. I wish I could have gone to the Chelsea Garden Show with them a few years before.
I started to feel a little too comfortable in my position while working for Ian, and I wanted to push myself and take the next step. So, I decided to take the leap, gave Ian plenty of notice and started my own landscape construction company, Green Exteriors.
The transition was a little daunting. I had gone from a steady job to not knowing where my next job would come from. If I have learnt anything from working with Ian, it was that quality work is remembered. Steve (Ian Barker Garden’s Construction Manager) was also a massive help; I learned so much about landscaping from him. Even today, I still call him with random questions and ask for advice.
Yes, and I’ll take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Landscaping Victoria! I became a member as soon as I started my business. Before COVID, they held some great events where we could meet with other industry people, including designers, suppliers, and contractors. It really helped me to network with other people and to be able to speak with others in the industry who love the same thing you do.
Being able to teach your own apprentices and watch them develop their own skills.
Time management and having to say no to work. It can also be quite difficult to ask an apprentice to do a job that might take you one hour, and they will take four.
The most difficult but most rewarding job was our Ivanhoe project. The job is located on The Boulevard and a very steep hill, and it took all of my patience, and probably the teams as well, to complete. I can’t thank the team enough for soldering on to completing the project. We did run over the schedule, and I have to thank the clients for being so understanding. It will be amazing to see how much this garden will evolve and blend into its surroundings in a few years.
Ian has been a great mentor for me while I was working for him, and he continues to be. He has plenty of wisdom and is quite the master of his craft. We also construct some of the gardens designed by the Ian Barker Garden’s team, so we’re always in touch one way or another.
It’s not easy! It’s hard, it’s cold, it’s hot, there’s no hiding from the elements. But it is so rewarding being able to look back and see what you have created with your own hands.
Continue to work with leading designers in the industry and potentially build a leading construction company in that industry. I also want to continue building quality gardens with people who have a genuine interest and passion for the trade.
Take the opportunity! One of the best decisions I ever made was working for Ian Barker Gardens. You get paid to work with one of the leaders in the industry that will teach you the skills you need to be a professional.
Interested in joining our team? We are always willing to meet like-minded and committed individuals who are keen to join us. If you are interested in working in our design, construction or garden maintenance team, please click here.
You can also follow Dave and Green Exterior’s journey on Instagram at @greenexteriors.