Understanding the National Plant Specification

What is the National Plant Specification?

The National Plant Specification (NPS) is an important tool that is used to support the selection, specification and delivery of plants throughout the UK’S horticultural and landscape industries.

The NPS provides detailed guidance on how to accurately specify planting material, with clearly illustrated definitions and descriptions, as well as a thorough explanation of associated terminology.

The tool is supported by both the Landscape Institute and the Horticultural Trades Association and as an industry standard, the NPS is actively promoted by major amenity growers and nurseries.

The NPS was published to create a level playing field for designers, contractors and suppliers facilitating like-for-like quotations for plants based on their size, form and growth potential.

What to expect within the NPS?

In short, the National Plant Specification has become an essential reference tool within landscape design. It is accessible in the UK and across Europe and includes a repository of industry-approved plant species lists – with all their associated specifications and plant characteristics. The platform defines plants by size, form, height, girth, growth habits and attributes. In total there are approximately 6,000 plant lines within the National Plant Specification.

Who uses the NPS?

The specification is used by a wide range of industry professionals including Landscape Architects, Designers and Growers, to support the informed design of planting schemes and landscape masterplans.

It provides assurances that the plants specified are the plants ultimately supplied, delivered and planted and that they are best suited to the project environment. This allows the planting scheme to retain its integrity and purpose while achieving its desired outcomes.

An all-to-often occurrence is a situation where plants are substituted for smaller, lesser-known alternatives which may be more cost-effective, but ultimately sacrifice landscape integrity. The National Plant Specification provides all of the relevant reference information from the outset to prevent this from happening.

“We have hosted the National Plant Specification for over 20 years, providing the platform and its rich source of valuable information for effective and informed landscape planning,” says our Managing Director, Tim Calnan.

“It not only provides accurate plant details, but this gives assurances when choosing plants for specific projects, ensuring that they will thrive within the environment they’ve been selected for.”

“Beyond our recently relaunched website, the National Plant Specification very much remains a core part of our offering and is there accessible for landscape and design professionals at any time.” adds Tim.

And the best bit about the reference tool is that it is available to browse online for free.

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