Joanne Alderson Phillips – Award Winning Garden and Landscape Designer
I founded Joanne Alderson Design ltd after graduating as a textile designer from Loughborough College of Art. Great times & great fun working with big names in the industry for 10 years, I learnt a lot about style, colour, space, proportion & most importantly – how to take & fulfil a brief.
As a keen gardener too I just couldn’t resist the great outdoors so retrained in horticulture & garden design at Warwickshire College. It was truly hard work but absolutely one of the best things I ever did. I love my job & am exceedingly privileged to have it. I literally spend my life making people happy.
I’m an award winning Chelsea garden designer too I’m delighted to say as I won both a silver medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show together with the BBC peoples choice award for my graduation show garden. I now produce stylish & individual gardens & landscapes for discerning clients around Oxfordshire, Berkshire, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire & Buckinghamshire . I lived in Henley on Thames for a few years & still have a lot of work in that area but travel far too as my clients kindly refer me to their friends.
All garden and landscape designs are bespoke to suit my clients, their brief & their plot. I create contemporary, architectural, traditional, formal & quirky garden designs. They always have my ‘handwriting’ so are unfussy, uncluttered & understated. They are however very much my clients’ gardens – not mine – that’s really important to know & understand.
I work with excellent craftsmen & plant suppliers to build my gardens which are fully project managed for a stress free client. The teams I work with have worked with me for many years now so we have an understanding & respect for one another’s skills & really enjoy working together too. Clients like this & recommend us as a team. That said, I am happy to produce a design for you for your own contractor to work from. My drawings & comprehensive notes are sufficient for a skilled landscape contractor to follow without me.
A few questions & answers…
- How much experience do you have? I have been working as a designer for thirty years now so I like to think I’ve learned a great deal over that time & can work with any brief.
- Have you won any awards? Yes I won a silver medal for my one & only entry at Chelsea Flower Show, together with the BBC peoples choice award, A couple of my gardens have been shortlisted for The Society of Garden Designers annual awards (despite not being a member) & I have won the Best Of Houzz design award six times which is extremely flattering. I don’t generally enter competitions as I am always so busy with a queue of work.
- Do you only design big gardens? No, providing there is the budget I design small gardens & courtyards too. They are great to do & can be quite a challenge as every tiny detail matters even more.
- If I commissioned you would it be you or one of a team that designed it? You would only be working with me. I do not have a team of designers as I am probably too much of a control freak! Anything that has my name on it has been designed by me. I answer the phone, answer emails, draw schemes & meet with clients so it is very much a bespoke & personal service.
- Do you visit site? Yes I do do providing one of my preferred contractors is building your scheme. I always try to be available.
- What time scale do you work to? I am usually booked up for several months but will always try & visit new clients as soon as possible & then add new schemes to my queue. I try to be as flexible as possible to suit clients needs.
- Are you easy to work with? I truly hope so! I enjoy my job & like people – clients often become friends as we usually spend a lot of time together. I try & design schemes to suit my clients & their lifestyle – not dictate!
- How can I make my garden look bigger? There are tricks we use as designers & keeping things simple is key. I use layering, mirrors, sight-lines, closed doorways to give an illusion of more to come & of course we can borrow landscape beyond if that’s an option.
- I have a very large garden that overwhelms me, what should I do? It’s important you feel comfortable in your garden & very large open spaces can feel uncomfortable so including smaller ‘rooms’ is a great way to resolve this dilemma. Sitting within a human-scale space with a dining table, firepit & attractive planting looking out onto a great space is an ideal solution.
- What is a sight-line? It is a way of drawing your eye to a great view or point of interest? This can be a grand vista of the type you might see in a grand country house such as Chatsworth or a small sculpture within a courtyard garden. With consideration any garden can include beautiful & or interesting sight-lines.
- I live by a busy road, how can I reduce the traffic noise? This is always a tricky one but there are ways of dealing with it. There are acoustic fences that can reduce noise together with dense boundary planting but having another sound within the garden can help to deflect the noise too. We had a small courtyard garden in Henley on Thames & the traffic noise there was fairly prominent. We had a water blade that fell over a metre into a pool below. This made a great sound & sightline too which stopped us tuning in to the traffic sound beyond. It doesn’t have to be a loud sound to work either – a tinkling water fall can also provide a sound focus which can do the trick
- I have a telegraph pole in my garden what can I do to hide it? Removing them/burying the wires can be prohibitively expensive. Often people plant up or around a telegraph pole but sadly this often it makes it more of a focal point. I have found that by creating a beautiful garden around it, it becomes far far less noticeable.
- How can I make my garden more interesting in Winter? All my gardens have a strong structure with evergreen planting to ensure Winter interest. I also tend to include scented plants too which add another dimension.
- Do you include a lighting design in your projects? Yes I do. I always include a lighting scheme for all the gardens I design. It is important the garden works throughout the year & in the evenings too. Uplighting trees & cross-lighting pathways for example add a fabulous dimension to a garden. Don’t forget here in England it gets dark at 4pm in Winter so I feel it’s really important to light the garden & enjoy the view.
I look forward to hearing from you
Jo Alderson Phillips BA Hons Dip Hort