Van Reviews & More

More than a Vauxhall Vivaro

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What made you decide you needed to buy a van?
When I started designing gardens, I quite quickly realised that our family estate car wasn’t going to meet the grade! Tools and materials are a big factor (plants take up a huge amount of space) but the green waste that I create during a day’s gardening often runs to four or five dumpy bags.
Why a Vauxhall Vivaro?
I decided that I wanted a full-sized van that was no-fuss and no-frills. The Vauxhall Vivaro / Renault Trafic model seemed to meet those criteria. They’re very slab-sided so there’s lots of room inside.
Do you know what this Vauxhall Vivaro did in its former life?
It used to be a Mitie service van so it came with some superb racking and a great work light in the back (although I can tell you from experience that it’ll run the battery down over a weekend if you leave it on.)
Vauxhall Vivaro
What did you do to make the van yours?
The van is slowly evolving into being a really well-organised space to work from. I don’t actually carry very many tools, but it’s really handy to have things like PPE, tarps and dumpy bags, waterproofs and first aid right where I can reach them.

Originally I thought I’d build more racking, but then I realised the benefit of getting half a tonne of soil in the back in a dumpy bag!

One of the most useful things is the addition of a Thetford 365 porta-loo (or what my mate calls the ‘Thunder Box’!) In these COVID times where we have to avoid going into people’s houses so that’s a godsend.
How did you customise the exterior of your van?
I designed a wrap inline with my branding - which is quite distinctive! My daughter calls it the butterfly van because it’s covered in huge insects and wild flowers. It took a long time to find the right artwork, and eventually I found a painter in Belaruse who does lovely renditions of wild flowers. My focus is eco-friendly gardens, so I was really keen that they were all recognisable British native species.

Tunnicliffe signwriters in Macclesfield did an absolutely first class job of the wrap and were a great help with the layout of the design too.
How has buying a van helped you and your business?
I couldn’t live without it from a practical perspective, and I get a couple of calls a month from people who’ve spotted me out and about.
What’s your favourite thing about your van?
How much my daughter loves it. She’s two and a half and she thinks it’s a right treat to come out with me and give it a tidy up!
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