Dean Herald of Rolling Stone Landscapes answers all your key landscaping questions, including who to design for, what to prioritise and what motivates him to succeed
When did you make your start?
After leaving school at 15 I started my training in landscape construction, drawn to the industry by my love of the outdoors. Soon, I developed a keen interest in architecture and the use of space. By 19 I had started my own company which allowed me to develop my skills in design and construction.
What is your design philosophy?
I often say that each landscape project has three clients. Firstly, there is the actual client who brings with them a personal brief and set of preferences; then there is the architecture, which has a voice and needs to be considered and respected. Lastly, there is the environment. This includes everything from the fall of the land, which affects drainage, to the aspect, which determines how well the plants will grow. Listening to all three voices is the key to a well-designed garden.
What do you always prioritise?
One of the key elements in a successful garden design is the correct scale. This touches each element of the garden and influences the material selection and choice of furniture right through to the plants and their eventual mature height and width. Too many people overlook the importance of scale or just get it wrong. Getting it right comes down to simple things like working out how wide the pavement needs to be so you can comfortably walk around and access furniture or making sure the size of the pavers is in proportion to the size of the area to be paved.
How do you build relationships?
From concept stage through to the build process, I prioritise close and constant communication — and getting to know the client well. It is never lost on me that the client has been thinking about their project for a long time — well before we first meet. This is why it’s important to just stop, listen and allow the client to share their ideas with you first. Next, I try to gain an understanding of the family and how they like to live because I can’t design a space unless I know who will be using it and how they will be using it.
What services do you provide?
We are a design and construction company with a special interest in the design of swimming pools, external structures such as pavilions and landscapes. We have a team of skilled professionals in our company who can undertake the entire process, from design to construction and handover.
What are some career highs?
Over the years we have constructed seven show gardens and been fortunate to win a Gold medal on each occasion, including at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. We have also won a slew of industry awards. Showcasing these projects in both my books, Resort Style Living and, more recently, Residential Landscape Design, has been a satisfying process for everyone involved in the creation of these spaces.
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