Soft landscaping and pathways at New Dunbarton Cemetery


CLIENT: West Dunbartonshire Council

DESIGNER: Fiona Robertson Landscape Design

VALUE: £1,108,424

CONTRACT PERIOD: June 2014 – April 2015


BALI National Landscape Award – Soft Landscaping Construction (Non-domestic) – £300K – £1.5 million


West Dunbartonshire Council identified a need to expand their burial provision and purchased a 2.07 hectare site off Garshake Road to create a new cemetery and ensure a sustainable burial environment for the residents of Dumbarton.


idverde was appointed as principal contractor to construct the new cemetery to provide 541 adult burial lairs, 30 children’s lairs, 127 cremated remains lairs and two memorial gardens.  Within the site, 34 parking spaces have been constructed along with six additional disabled parking bays.

Works included:

  • Bulk earthworks
  • New access road
  • Parking areas
  • Footways
  • Ancillary civil engineering work within and around the site
  • Landscaping
  • Tree and shrub planting

Topsoil strip: Topsoil was stripped and a proportion retained and placed to form plot areas.

Earthworks:  The cut and fill operation was carried out using laser technology to achieve the required profile.

Formation of new access road and footpaths:  The new road comprised a curved access road through the site with turning circle and continuous laybys with parking bays.  The carriageway and footpaths were cut out to formation level and type one was placed and compacted.  Kerbs were placed and the road surfaced in asphalt finish.

Drainage: Installed through the site including filtration trench and carrier drains outfalling into either the existing carriageway drainage on Garshake Road or an existing watercourse at the bottom of the sloping site.  Early consideration was given to surface water in relation to SEPA’s guidelines and a range of control measures were used including additional French drains, settlement ponds, straw bales, silt fencing and siltbuster.

Concrete retaining walls:  Feature walls comprised a series of 2 m high walls to retain the finished levels.  These were constructed with reinforced concrete bases and faced with Denfind stone masonry to give a rustic look.  There were also some drystane dykes.  Walls were Denfind copes or Caithness slabs.  Six pillars were formed 2.5 m high x 900 m square with Caithness Slab cap to form entrance features.  Curved low level walls were built within two garden areas and topped with hardwood to form seating.

Headstone foundations:  concrete strip foundations were formed at the rear of lairs.

Caithness paving works:  complex curved paved areas and steps were formed with Caithness slabs and Denfind stone.  Some footpaths were edged off with reclaimed granite setts and others with granite kerbs.  Feature Caithness slabs were engraved with thought-provoking phrases. A Shelter was built with timber frame and steel clad roof.

Car park: an 18 space car park was constructed in permeable block paving.

Handrails:  The footpath adjacent to Garshake Rd incorporated a handrail to accommodate the steep hill.

Fencing:  Post and wire fencing was installed to the perimeter of the site.  Rabbit netted post and wire fencing protects planted areas. Curved flat bar fencing was installed to the edge of footpaths and some decorative handrails and features.

Planting: A large planting scheme comprised a combination of trees, shrubs and woodland planting; wild flower turf and seed and grass turf and grass seed.


Laser technology was deployed to complete the earthworks and final grade the type 1, bringing benefits in time and efficiency.

A considerable volume of compost was placed and spread throughout the planted areas.  Approximately 400 t of compost was brought to site in tanker and blown through hose directly into planted areas.  This provided a cost effective and tidy solution.

We deployed a silt buster tank to deal with surface water issues.  This proved the most effective method of dealing with surface water run-off over clay ground.  It utilised floculant blocks and gathered suspended particles into large particles which could be discharged through the unit.