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More than a Vauxhall Vivaro

In ‘more than a…’, we look at ordinary vehicles that have been used for something extraordinary. Here we catch up with Ben Darlington from The Wild Gardener who tells us about how a Vauxhall Vivaro has helped his business grow.

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
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 portable toilet (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!
Want to know more about The Wild Gardener?
You can read more about The Wild Gardener and their services here.
Want to find a Vauxhall Vivaro?
You're in the right place, browse over 1,450 Vauxhall Vivaro vans here. Check our their website here.

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