Grand Designs Live really was a great event this year with one of the highlights being Jennifer Huckstep’s garden exhibit that won her Grand Designs Garden Designer of the year – an amazing achievement particularly when you consider that issues pre-show nearly led to Jennifer throwing in the towel and not exhibiting at all!
Just goes to show that perseverance really does pay off!
We followed up with Jennifer back at her garden design practice – Cultivate Design – after the event and were lucky enough to be able to get an interview spotlight with her.
Jennifer Huckstep – Grand Designs Live Garden Designer of the Year 2016 says …
1. What were your initial motivations behind pursuing a career in Garden/Landscape Design and what advice would you offer others with similar aspirations?
I have always had an interest in self-sufficiency and so decided to study RHS Horticulture at Capel Manor College.
One unit of the two-year RHS course was Garden Design, which appealed to my art & design background.
It was during a course visit to RHS Wisley at the end of term, that I became hooked and immediately signed up for Garden & Planting Design course.
I would advise anyone interested in garden/landscaping design to find a good training course. A true understanding & application of the principles of design is vital for success.
2. What would you consider your greatest achievement as a professional in this field?
Winning Grand Designs Live – Garden Designer of the Year at the beginning of May this year.
3. What, in your opinion, are the key elements to a successful Garden Design?
There are several keys to good design that can be read in any design book. But I think the underlying principle is simplicity. Simplicity in form, choice of materials, planting, colour.
If there is too much going on in a garden, it fights for your attention and feels unsettling. Whereas if all the elements are simplified, unity and balance can be achieved and creates a calming effect.
4. How important, in your opinion, is the furniture in Garden Design/Landscaping?
Furniture should be considered carefully.
Practical considerations need to met, in terms of winter storage/protection, maintenance etc, but it also needs to tie in with the overall style of the garden to avoid looking out of place.
5. Which historic Garden Designers do you take the most inspiration from?
There are many designers that inspire me: Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto for their plantsmanship; Christopher Bradley-Hole and Charlotte Rowe for simple, beautiful design; but most of all, Topher Delaney for creative & original interpretations of what a garden really should be.
Many thanks Jennifer some really insightful stuff here and we wish you all the best with the flood of commissions you’re working on after the success at Grand Designs Live!