Secret Gardens employs people with a range of skills, who each contribute to the creation of beautiful and functional gardens for our clients. These include landscape architects, landscape designers, landscape contractors and horticulturists. To better understand what each profession brings to the practice, we are delving into their workday and finding out what makes them tick.
Luke Taylor loves installing gardens for Secret Gardens Sydney clients. We caught up with Luke, who was busy at work in a client’s garden.
Q How did you become a landscape designer? What courses did you pursue?
I did an apprenticeship and Landscape Certificate III course at TAFE but I was keen on working in gardens from when I was at school and shadowed a landscaper for work experience. I just loved the work and being outdoors and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I never saw myself as an office person.
Q What would your average day involve?
Every day varies so much but that’s what I love. There’s painting, tiling, building and of course planting. I organise the tradies, schedule tasks and deliveries and liaise with the client. I’m the guy who’s the link between the client and the design as I am on the spot.
Q At what stage do you get involved in a garden design?
I do a site visit with the designer once the client has given the go ahead for the job. I’m not usually involved before this stage, but I may get called in around logistics for example if the site has access issues or other problems that we need to solve before finalising a design concept. Once I start work, the job has been evolving over several months or even over several years. In a way my bit is the final part of the job. It is very exciting to see the garden start to take shape.
Q What’s it like seeing a garden you are building come to life?
It is very rewarding watching how the garden comes together. I love to take a moment to look back and recall how it was and what it is now – you do the job for that moment.
Q What’s your favourite part of the construction process?
Actually, what I love is when we get up to the part when the plants go in. The site seems to come alive. It makes you feel good as it takes on a life of its own.
Q What is it like being on site?
It can be very busy but depending on what work is underway there’s usually only three to six people on site – mostly just three. We try to keep things well organised and tidy!
Q What are the low points of your work?
Sometimes things go awry as there are so many ‘moving parts’. There can be misunderstandings or things don’t arrive on time. That’s when I have to step up with solutions. Mostly things can be rectified but it can be a challenge. I do try to always be on the front foot.
Do you get to see the garden as it matures?
Sometime after the garden is completed, we do a walk through with the designer to see how the vision is coming together. I also love seeing photos of the gardens as they develop.
What’s the best part of your job?
Often the garden location is spectacular – we work throughout Sydney and get to see fantastic places. That’s often a highlight and a great privilege. But I just love being part of the vision and making it all happen for the client. As I love plants, I enjoy getting inside the designer’s head when it comes to plant selection. It’s inspiring looking at what’s going where and talking to the designer about particular plant choices.