Gill German | The Open College of the Arts

Gill German

After starting my family, I retrained as a Garden Designer at Merrist Wood College, gaining a Certificate in Garden Design followed by a Postgraduate Diploma at The Oxford College of Garden Design. After completing my Merrist Wood course, I set up my own design practice and over the last 22 years I have designed many gardens from small city spaces to the gardens of large country houses. I am a Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers and have had my work published in The Garden Design Journal and one of my gardens has appeared on TV in the series The Garden Makers. I am currently designing my own garden at last!

In 2014, I decided that I wanted to design for everyone rather than just work for private clients and so I returned to education to complete a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Kingston University. I currently work in practice as a Chartered Landscape Architect and have been involved in a range of projects from designing private gardens to landscape proposals for housing, schools, a sports centre, a new football stadium and more recently a famous cemetery. Work involves the design and production of drawings for planning applications, Landscape Visual Impact Assessments and contract administration. I collaborate closely with Architects, Engineers, Ecologists, Arboricultural Consultants and Contractors. My responsibility is to protect, conserve and enhance the landscape, so I am always designing with native as well as ornamental plants and as a keen Beekeeper, I am particularly passionate about planting for pollinators.

I have been a trainer in previous careers and I am currently mentoring a young Landscape Architect within the practice. I really enjoy helping and seeing people develop their skills.

I’m very excited about teaching with the OCA – making sustainable and ecologically responsible design choices is an important part of any landscape or garden design and I’m keen to share my experience and help new designers make robust design choices. I believe education is a chance to explore design options and push student’s concepts and creative boundaries but equally, designing and building a garden comes with a responsibility for client’s expectations, financial budgets and health and safety. There’s a lot to learn! Garden design requires a range of skills and so it’s a career accessible to students with varied backgrounds and abilities. Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a garden you designed grow or a community enjoying the space you designed.

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