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The Conscious Garden by Melanie Hawgood


Garden Name: The Conscious Garden

Visitors can expect to see a simple, low maintenance garden designed for those living in a small space and rental accommodation. The design was influenced by the growing popularity of reclaiming and recycling materials alongside an awareness of the need for affordable homes and the affect this has on our natural environment. The garden design aims to be wildlife friendly, sustainable, functional and affordable. Wherever possible, recycled materials are used. The gravel surface was chosen for its permeability and more green space is created with a green roof on the shipping container. The client should feel secluded and calm in their own private garden with areas created for privacy and functionality with a dining and seating area. The atmosphere is intended to be calming along with the subtle sounds of a reclaimed stone water feature and the movement of grasses.

Designer: Melanie Hawgood

After working on an allotment as a hobby with her Mum who is a keen gardener, Melanie decided that perhaps pursuing a career in horticulture would be more fulfilling than the office work she was doing at the time.

After some investigation and soul searching, Melanie undertook a placement with WRAGS scheme (Work and Retrain as a Gardener) with the WFGA (Women's Farm and Garden Association). It was a real privilege to be able to do the WRAGS placement for a year in a country estate garden in Oxfordshire. Although hard work, Melanie found it so invigorating to be outside in all the elements and exciting to be involved in projects such as planting an arboretum and getting to drive a digger and a tractor.

Melanie also volunteered in a poor community in South Africa, planting a kitchen garden for a church community and orphanage. She realised there was so much to learn and so many different career directions to go in with horticulture so wanted to carry on her journey and managed to obtain a couple of grants to study for two of the Level 2 RHS courses.

In this time, Melanie left her office job and started studying for a diploma in Garden Design as it appealed to her creative side and growing love of gardening. “I have a Fine Art degree and people always said that studying Fine Art wouldn't lead to a job. The various jobs I did get after University proved to be not very rewarding. It was only after pursuing a career in horticulture that I made the connection of Fine Art with gardening, to combine the two for Garden Design. I was then awarded with a third grant towards the costs of studying for a diploma in Garden Design at the Cotswold Gardening School.”

“My life has changed dramatically since I decided to make a change. I got married and moved house last year and couldn’t have made such changes without the support of my Mum and husband.”

“I still have so much to learn but that is what is so appealing about Garden Design and Horticulture generally - that it is an endless journey of discovery and learning.”

Sponsor: Primrose