From historic sites to public parks
Over the years, I have also worked extensively in the public realm and commercial sector, with projects ranging from restoring historic public gardens, through creating community gardens and parks, to designing sensitive landscaping for upmarket residential developments.
While design expertise and quality of execution are just as important here as in any private garden, this kind of work makes different demands upon the designer.
In all cases, the first priority is to maintain and enhance the existing landscape – for example, by choosing the right plants and materials. But it’s also essential to take into account the needs and wishes of various clients and users of the space, which may sometimes be difficult to reconcile. I’m widely experienced in working in this way, consulting with local communities and other interested parties.
One other very important consideration here is to take the long term view, considering from the outset how the garden will be maintained; what skills and resources will be available, to ensure the space and planting will remain as they were intended. Again, the gardens and landscapes I have created bear testimony to my ability to “look into the future”.
From primary schools to Oxford colleges
My previous career as a teacher gives me a real advantage in understanding the special requirements of projects in the educational sector, particularly the growing emphasis on providing stimulating environments to enhance children’s learning. I’m a long standing member of Learning through Landscapes.
My involvement in this area has been extremely varied, ranging from working as part of multi-disciplinary teams on multi-million pound new-build schools to much more modest, smaller scale projects. (At the time of writing, I’m excited to be working on an important project for one of the University of Oxford colleges.)