Always seek experience and ingenuity, advises David Franklin of Franklin Landscape & Design
How did you get your start?
From a young age, I was given many opportunities to work with some amazing landscape designers. The experiences they exposed me to opened my eyes to the many possibilities within the realm of landscape design and construction. Once the seed was planted, I was keen to take the next step. To do this, I found myself a landscape apprenticeship with a local Melbourne landscaper. It was here I learnt and honed the skills of the trade and began to work out what excited me and how to create gardens that met the client’s brief.
What makes for good design?
I come into each new design project with the goal of maximising the space and increasing its functionality, all within the constraints posed by the site. Starting with this, I then begin to layer the design, being careful not to include any gimmicks or passing trends, less the garden should become dated in a short period of time.
Where does the process begin?
To understand the brief presented to you by the client is paramount. Without this, you would be coming into a design “blind”. During the briefing process, I establish the perimeters and constraints of the project; also the client’s desires. Site context and the amount of space available are the next important factors in the creation of a design. Then there are things such as solar access, gradients, prevailing winds and neighbouring properties that play a significant role in a garden’s layout.
Do you have a preferred style?
The style I am traditionally associated with is the grand, formal style of garden with beautifully clipped hedges and a soft, lush green overtone. However, in the design realm, there are natural ebbs and flows and I adapt my style according to changing tastes and the individual desires of the client. Today, my design palette is more contemporary and many of my gardens blur the line between the home’s interior spaces and the outdoors. However, I believe there will always be a place for more traditional, formal styles of gardens.
What are some exciting trends?
To me, one of the most exciting design trends is inset concrete — the versatility of this material is gold to a designer! Also, rammed-earth walls are gaining popularity as people shift away from lots of hardscaping and ask for smaller areas of paving and less block walls. Softer landscaping that is layered with precision is also on-trend and fantastic to see.
How key is communication?
The secret to a successful relationship with a client is communication. This is integral. Without open lines of communication, regardless of what stage the project is at, problems will arise. Succinct, clear and regular communication ensures a smooth experience for all — and a good outcome.
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