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Frosts Landscape Construction - Commercial landscaping specialists

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

East Marsh Football Pitches

For the 2012 Olympic Games part of Hackney Marshes football site was taken over and converted to a hard standing coach park. As part of the QEOP Legacy Transformation contract the 12 football pitches had to be re-instated and returned back to Hackney Borough Council. This element of the contract was let to Frosts as Design and Build and we employed the specialists Tim O’Hare Associates and Agripower to design and undertake these works under our management and supervision.

Frosts were delighted to have been presented with a BALI Award for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East Marsh Football Pitches - Sports Ground and Leisure Facilities category at the 2014 BALI Landscaping Awards ceremony in London.

The original design concept was flawed, as it intended to use the free draining stone used for the coach park as the drainage and sub formation for the pitches. Had Frosts not changed the design then the pitches would have drained too well and required irrigation systems to be installed, which was not part of the design or desirable in the long term for the end user. A full design review was therefore undertaken and a solution put forward, which both our client LLDC and the owner/user Hackney Borough Council accepted, using a seeded approach which would take longer to establish.

The new design required the following processes to be undertaken:


  • Remove block paving, stone layer and any footings
  • Import and spread imported suitable subsoil to replace the stone layer
  • Grade subsoil to achieve desired levels and falls
  • Import and spread imported topsoil
  • Install land drainage system
  • Ameliorate the topsoil surface with a sports sand
  • Cultivate soil profile and seed with bespoke seed mix
  • Maintain in accordance with specified Establishment Management Plan

The wet and very cold start to 2013 did not help with the operations and the programme slipped a number of months as works had to stop for prolonged periods.  Throughout this period the overarching importance was adhering to good horticultural practices in handling the soils, which was understood by the client. 

All 12 football pitches had to be irrigated for three months in mid to late summer using a temporary irrigation system fed from a surface tank filled from a hydrant.  As the grass established it was cut, vertidrained and fertiliser and overseeded where necessary.  All parties have been very happy with the end product which will see football pitches returned back to Hackney in much better condition than they were originally.

Project details

Design development began in April 2012, Construction started November 2012 - 20-Jul-2013
Main Contractor
Bam Nuttall
Landscape Architect
Tim O’Hare Associates