Sauchiehall Avenue, Glasgow City Centre

Sauchiehall Avenue, Glasgow City Centre


The ‘Avenues’ transformation project by Glasgow City Council; pilot project Sauchiehall Avenue


Glasgow City Council and Landscape Contractor idverde


40x Large, upright, semi-mature trees at 40-60cm girth

Hillier Project Manager:

Caroline Swann

Plant Production:

Andlers Ash Field Grown Nursery and Broadmead Container Nursery

Gingko biloba containerised at Hillier Tree Nursery in Hampshire

The Brief

Hillier Trees received the brief for the Sauchiehall Avenue – the pilot avenue within the overall project – from both Glasgow City Council and Landscape Contractor, idverde. Caroline Swann, Account Manager at Hillier Trees notes that “this particular street had never had trees planted down it before. The request was to provide trees that would clearly mark out the new cycle route, as well as enhance the overall appearance and environment of the avenue.”

Key factors driving the tree selection included size, contribution to biodiversity, and our nurseries biosecurity measures. “This project aimed for large, upright, semi-mature trees at 40-60cm girth, so that trees would have an immediate impact” says Caroline. “To support biodiversity, the avenue was designed with a blend of tree species. The brief also emphasised the significance of biosecurity, and favoured British-Grown trees.”

Representatives from Glasgow City Council and idverde visited Hillier’s field grown nursery in Hampshire and selected more than 40 trees. The selected varieties included Acer campestre ‘William Caldwell’, Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’, Acer plataoides ‘Deborah’, and Ginkgo biloba. Each of these trees showcase a relatively upright growth pattern and display a high tolerance for urban conditions, making them well-suited for the planned planting environment.


After the field trees were selected, they were containerised into Spring Rings or Air Pot containers at our container nursery in Hampshire. They were then kept in a dedicated area. The containerising process aims to optimise the trees chances of successfully establishing when it is planted in its final spot on site. Additionally, each tree was labelled with its intended orientation upon final planting, whether facing the road, towards the shops, etc. To meet the stipulated 3m clear stem requirement, we carefully raised the canopy on the trees.

Due to the size of the trees, only a limited number could be safely loaded onto each lorry during the planting phase. Consequently, multiple deliveries were scheduled over a relatively brief timeframe, aligning with the progress of the development work.

Acer campestre Streetwise super semi-mature tree in winter


We are delighted to have been a part of the first project of Glasgow City Council’s £115 million ‘Avenues’ transformation program. Sauchiehall Avenue, which runs from the west of the city into the centre, underwent a remarkable transformation, evolving from a congested traffic zone to a welcoming space where pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles can travel harmoniously. Hillier Trees provided dozens of semi-mature trees, which were swiftly planted in late 2018. The project was fully completed in September 2019.

The ‘Avenues’ programme delivers a key strategic goal outlined in the ‘Glasgow City Centre Strategy and Action Plan 2014-19’. This involves establishing an interconnected network of continuous pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the city centre, which fosters sustainability and enhances economic competitiveness. Caroline remarks on the programmes ambitious nature, stating, “the ‘Avenues’ programme is really impressive in its scope. In total, Glasgow City Council has plans to revamp a total of 17 streets and their surrounding areas, a transformation that will substantially enhance the urban environment and incorporate green infrastructure throughout the city.”

The Ceremony

Hillier Trees participated in the first tree planting ceremony at Sauchiehall Avenue on 7th November 2018, alongside Councillor Susan Aitkens, Leader of Glasgow City Council, and students from Garnetbank Primary. Following the ceremony, we gave a presentation at the school, inspiring the next generations’ curiosity about trees and nurturing their interest in these vital parts of the natural world.

Councillor Susan Aitken commented “the wider Avenues project will help us make the most of the fantastic economic potential of so many districts in the city centre, and meet the challenges facing it.”

Caroline expressed her gratitude in being part of such a transformative project, stating ‘to see trees planting along Sauchiehall Avenue for the first time and seeing them embraced by the community has been a rewarding experience. We hope they continue to flourish in their new locations. The attentive care provided by the idverde team has been impressive, ensuring that the trees flourish.”

Successful Partnership

Sandra Goldie, Business Development Manager at idverde added; “In this Avenue pilot project, successful partnership between the client, Glasgow City Council, idverde Ltd and Hillier Trees, demonstrated the importance and harmony of expert design and planning, civil engineering innovation and structural design in achieving a sustainable urban greening and flood protection vision.”

This project was commended at the BALI National Landscape Awards 2019, where idverde were an Award Winner within the Soft Landscaping Construction (Non-Domestic) – over £500k category. The award recognised the high level of professionalism, workmanship and client satisfaction that brings credit to the landscape industry.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said of the project:

“The completion of Sauchiehall Avenue is a milestone for the rebirth of this famous Glasgow thoroughfare,” commented Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council. “The wider Avenues project will help us make the most of the fantastic economic potential of so many districts in the city centre and meet the challenges facing it.”

Key Trees

Acer campestre ‘William Caldwell’

This cultivar of Field Maple was cloned from a seedling that was first discovered by Donovan …

Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’

The ‘Fastigiata’ variety of Hornbeam boasts a more erect and upright structure compared to the species. …

Acer platanoides ‘Deborah’

This large Canadian variety thrives particularly well in urban settings, especially when surrounded by tall, sheer …

Ginkgo biloba

Recognised as the national tree of China and cherished by landscapes globally, this tree stands out …

View all Trees