I was taught the four stages of design, site visit, site appreciation, site analysis and design. This is something I have always practiced, but I find that as I gained experience these became second nature and now intuitive. An important factor in the process, I believe, is to remain open-minded, able to accept ideas and modify schemes accordingly. Most importantly, produce the best scheme possible for the site, not for the budget; schemes can always be reduced, but in my experience it is very difficult and often prohibitively expensive to modify an initially poor scheme.
I was initially taught Landscape Design at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) but I have worked in private offices, Warrington New Town and in various local authorities for many years, learning all the time. For nearly thirty years I have worked on projects in Greece as well as the UK and this has given me an excellent knowledge of Mediterranean garden design, which I really enjoy using. Perhaps more unusually, I am also very interested in Japanese garden design and I am a founder member of the Japanese Garden Society, I have designed and built several small Japanese-style gardens – it is most important for the designer of Japanese ‘kare-sansui’ gardens to have a direct involvement in placing rocks! I am married to an Architect (a former colleague) and work frequently with Architects, Planners, Engineers etc. very much as a team player. I have always been extremely keen on planting design, but also very much enjoy designing hard landscape works.
I think I would most like to design a large parkland area. I have done so in the past, on a site in Greece, but unfortunately the scheme was stopped at an early stage and the site remains incomplete still! Perhaps now a large garden in difficult terrain would be an enjoyable design challenge.
I do not have a single planting style, each scheme evolves on its own dependent upon where and what the project is. At the end of the day a designer frequently has to compromise on plant material, selecting those species which tolerate specific conditions. This is why it is almost impossible to build a Japanese garden in the UK, but you can build a garden which looks like a Japanese garden – many of the plants will be totally different, but look similar to Japanese species. Much of my inspiration comes from natural plant communities, such as the eastern North American woodland where plants like Phlox divarica (woodland Phlox) grow, or Japanese woodland where the better-known Hostas grow. Perhaps my favourites are the Rhododendron forests of Nepal and Sikkim.
My specialisms I believe I have largely covered in my design background, but I have an interest in historic buildings and their gardens as well as in fortifications. In recent years I have carried out Landscape Character Assessments (such as those for Warrington and Wigan Borough Councils) as well as Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIA) often needed for developments in Green Belt and AONB areas.
Directly with the client, we constructed and installed a beach themed garden, suitable for Dementia patients
Roof terrace with garden studio and different areas to enjoy, including a seaside themed area
A cool contemporary project on a new build property in Chester.
In this small courtyard development in Hoole, we created a cool split level space for the client who wanted a modern feel.
Directly with the client, we constructed and installed a beach themed garden, suitable for Dementia patientsRead More Large Project
Roof terrace with garden studio and different areas to enjoy, including a seaside themed areaRead More Medium Project
A cool contemporary project on a new build property in Chester.Read More Small Project
In this small courtyard development in Hoole, we created a cool split level space for the client who wanted a modern feel.Read More Outdoor Kitchens
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