Landscape & Amenity
Many people will be familiar with the bi-monthly newspaper format publication for all things landscape, which is Landscape and Amenity Product Update (LAPU). Yes: it's another of those magazines featuring ads from manufacturers looking to sell their wares and inviting readers to request further information, but LAPU has build a reputation for running some interesting, if not provocative, comment pieces from various members of the trade, which tends to set it apart from the usual 'tick-a-box' mags that get shoved through the letterbox on what sometimes seems like a daily basis.
At the beginning of this month, the owners launched a whole new re-designed and revitalised website for the title, under the banner of Landscape and Amenity : the "Product Update" bit seems to have been lost in the transfer.
Oh goody! Yet another website. Just what we need....but wait a minute, this one has some interesting features that make it worth adding to your visit-once-a-month-or-so list.
It would be oh so easy to dismiss this as just another wannabee portal, and there's no doubt that it has aspirations in that direction, but behind the busy over-animated home page, there is some quite good content, organised sensibly and with logical links.
Yes: it's still overly heavy on lawn-mowers, stump grinders and golf course kit, but every few issues it runs a Hard Landscaping special, and that's when it comes into its own. It's one of the very few publications that actively targets the landscape installation sector, a fact that has been picked up on by many of the leading manufacturers, so we tend to see innovation and updates here before we read about them elsewhere.
The website has a horizontally scrolling ticker for so-called "Breaking News", and a series of tabs leading to various sub-options such as Products, Videos, Brochures, etc., which isn't exactly revolutionary, but tucked at the bottom of each item is the ability to provide feedback or comments, which could be very revealing, if it takes off.
Once you start exploring the sub-options, you can appreciate that, as it fills up with content over the coming months, this has the potential to become a very useful tool, a repository of articles, catalogues, videos and more that might not have an immediate application but are likely to be useful on some future application. It's certainly easier than keeping a stack of magazines on a shelf!
A lot of would-be portal sites, sites that purport to be a gateway to a wider web of useful information, have come and gone in the 16 years or so that I've been casually wandering around the internet, and most of them are big on ambition but small on delivery. L&A is backed by one of the more active publishers in the construction product promotion trade and so it could be the one that actually delivers, and becomes that essential bookmarked/favourited site that we turn to when we need information.
At the moment, there's not a great deal on there to excite your average paving contractor, but I'd suggest it's one to keep your eye on. As content accumulates over the coming months, and we start to see the Hard Landscaping specials, it will be worth dipping in every few weeks.