I decided to study the Landscape Design and Sustainability course at Swinburne. It was a catalyst that pushed me toward thinking about what we are creating and why.
The lecturer at the time, Miriam Downes, was very sustainability driven and very clever. She made something click in me. I thought, I need to start making my decisions like that, to think about the materials we use and where they come from. She lives and breathes what she talks about. There’s nothing better than someone who lives by practice.
I knew I needed to have a good understanding of soft landscapes (plants) and hard landscapes (surfaces like decking, paving and screens). I was naturally interested in plant research but needed to develop my hard landscape knowledge.
To get into the industry you need to get those fundamentals right: learn about plants, hardscapes, how to use design programs, and how a garden works and what to put in it.
I was pretty driven. I focused on designing for others and learnt how to do that well. In the long run I wanted to do my own thing. I finished the course in 2011 and became one of four finalists that built a garden at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. That’s where I made the decision to start my business. I started in 2012 and we’ve now done three professional gardens at the show.
I really love plants. But I like being able to make that connection to people – to talk to someone about their story and what they want out of their garden, have a yarn and bring that brief to life. It’s fun.
There are more and more opportunities as time goes by. I’d like to create some giant environments. It could be to help out a whole new village or revegetate an area that hasn’t functioned properly and build a more sustainable environment.”