With over 15 years of experience, Somerset based Landscape Designer, Judy Cole, has worked on a wide range of garden projects during her career. Using a naturalistic approach based on sustainable principles, Judy creates beautiful garden solutions in keeping with the wider landscapes in which surround them.
Proving the ideal partner for the Cubis Bruton project, local Somerset agents, Lodestone, chat with Judy about her experience within the industry and her top trends within the world of landscape gardening. Read on to find out more…
Tell us about yourself?
Hi, I’m Judy from Judy Cole Garden Design and I have worked as a Landscape Designer for over 15 years.
Why did you want to become a Landscape Designer?
I grew up in a house with a large garden with garden-loving parents so I feel very at home in gardens and the outdoors generally. I am interested in architecture and how the home life can be enhanced by beautiful surroundings. My first love though were the plants, they are fascinating, diverse and play such a strong part in our ecosystem, let alone their beauty, smell and colour.
Where did you train?
I trained with John Brookes MBE, one of the first landscape designers at the dawn of garden and landscape design for the middle classes in the 1960s and 70s. He espoused the concept that a garden’s design should be based first and foremost on the needs of its occupants. I went on to work at Highfield House, home of Prince Charles, in the early 2000s.
How would you describe your landscaping style?
First and foremost, I try to open the eyes of my clients and reveal the unique qualities of their home, garden and surrounding area. A good working relationship, a creative collaboration, is the best way to design a garden that suits the owners, their home life and the nature of the house and surroundings. It is the owners who will live with the garden so it must be designed for their needs and sensibilities. Having said that, I do push their ideas and create something that will suit them but also inspire them. I like to bring a sense of ‘today’ to my designs and I love the juxtaposition of old architecture with a contemporary twist. I take my inspiration from nature and art.
What attracted you to this project?
I was excited by the bold originality of the design, and the sculptural quality of the houses. The materials used on the houses, metal, wood, and stone all bring such interesting texture, variety and shape and create a fantastic relationship with the plants. I love the sedum roofs although it was tough earlier on in the summer trying to keep them alive before they had established, but we did it.
Have you met the architect Mark Merer and heard his vision for the landscaping? How much have you followed that through and how much have you added your own twists?
I knew about Mark before we had even met, I had spotted some unusual and inspiring houses around Somerset only to find they were designed by the same person. When I was commissioned to do this garden and realised it was Mark who had designed them I was so excited. His bold use of shape gave me permission to create borders in unusual juxtapositions and to use a linear flow of plants in a finer tapestry of species.
What are the current popular and fashionable garden looks?
Anything naturalistic with plants that attract pollinators. We have all become so much more aware of a decline in nature’s biodiversity and especially as gardeners, a lack of pollinators in our garden. There is nothing more pleasurable than seeing various species of bee or butterfly, all darting from one rich food source to another. It’s nice to know we are helping create such a busy microcosm of life as well as bringing the beauty of plants to a setting that brings harmony and pleasure into our lives.
Why do you think a landscape designer is important? What value do they bring to projects, both domestically and commercially?
Designers bring cohesive and trained thought to a garden setting, an ability to integrate how a garden and a house sit together so they are comfortable in the greater landscape. A designer is able to see the potential and can provide a beautiful and functioning environment for a home or commercial premises, whatever the demands of a brief.
Where should home-owners start when designing the gardens for their own homes?
Start with walking around your garden, get the feel of its size and walk to where you would like to sit, find the sunny places, the shade spaces, and take note of the different views. Find your favourite spots and link these places to each other by paths so you begin to make a pattern in the garden. This creates walking and stopping places and makes traversing your garden more interesting. Once you have explored this get someone professional in to guide you. They can take your ideas and form them into exactly what you would like.