Former rocker grows landscape design firm to be Britain’s best small business

James Lanwarne gave up his musical career 11 years ago and retrained in landscape design and horticulture. His company, Lanwarne Landscapes, was named small business of the year 2014, beating almost 1,000 rival entrants.

The St Albans-based business blossomed in the recession, benefiting from homeowners unable to move up the property ladder and instead embarking on ambitious garden projects rather than move house.

Lanwarne has carried out contracts worth up to £100,000 in recent years. Worldpay, sponsor of the awards, said its own figures showed the whole industry was booming and projects getting larger, with the average landscape garden contract increasing in budget by 22 per cent over the past two years.

Lanwarne, whose musical career dried up when his fledgling band, Choker, was dropped by its record label, said the company had managed to grow so rapidly thanks to ‘the unrivalled passion of the team’, including his wife Tanya, who is responsible for marketing, human resources and finance.