Did you know that most people in their 40’s / 50’s, looking at gardening jobs as a possible career change, choose garden design? There are myriad reasons for choosing to study landscape or garden design. Perhaps that is why you are reading this article? While some may be a school-leaver or new graduate entranced by the notion of working with plants in the great outdoors. Most are mid-life change of career students who simply want to get back to nature. Perhaps you are seeking a new career direction, want to escape the rat race. Can’t stand working in an office a moment longer, need a new and exciting challenge, or just want to be your own boss.
Perhaps you are seeking a new career direction, want to escape the rat race. Can’t stand working in an office a moment longer, need a new and exciting challenge, or just want to be your own boss.
Often it is several of these. It is never too soon to make a start and it is certainly never too late. I speak from experience. I found my own career change from publishing to garden design to be the most rewarding of my life.
Bring enthusiasm, an open mind, a willingness to learn and work hard and a sense of humour and you will learn much about yourself as well as garden-making. There is considerable misunderstanding about what a garden designer actually does. (See Starting a Garden Design Business).
Gardening Jobs Defined
Anyone considering gardening jobs as a career change needs to understand the distinctions between a landscape gardener, gardener, landscape architect, landscaper and garden designer before you sign up to your course.
The world you are about to discover will amaze, astonish and hopefully delight you. You will come to wonder how you ever walked in a man-made garden or landscape with so little understanding and so little knowledge.
Even if you are already an accomplished gardener, you may have little or no formal design training. If you design aircraft, clothes, furniture, buildings or theatre, you may still be a hesitant and amateur gardener.
Why Garden Design?
You may currently work in retail, catering, the armed forces, engineering, nursing, teaching or local government. The point is that wherever you work, there are very high levels of satisfaction, and skills to be gained from learning how to design gardens.
Some people do not believe design training is important. However, if you look at a landscape or private garden without any design input, it will lack balance and harmony. It will appear disjointed and somewhat unpleasing to the eye. Evidence of any love and care that has gone into the planting will have been greatly diminished.
A seemingly perfect hard landscaped design plan, without a single plant is equally unsatisfactory. Unless it contains other elements of passion and sensitivity, such as sculpture, water, or poems carved in wood. In a garden design course, the two elements of design and horticultural knowledge are brought together. One enhances the other and neither is complete alone – the perfect partnership.
Combine these elements with passion, love and sensitivity. Bring all this to your work and you will feel a great sense of achievements as a designer. The wonderful thing is, that whatever your previous life experience, you can bring it to bear on your own personal interpretation of garden design.
Good luck and enjoy!
If you’re looking to start a business, the Oxford College of Garden Design has courses for new and working designers.
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