The Resident, May 2015

English Gardens

5 November 2015

Marcus began his career in the British army, and decided to pursue a new path by enrolling at Inchbald School of Design. He fell in love with the world of landscape design, and turned out to be a natural - he went on to win a Gold Medal for his garden at the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show, just one year after finishing his design course. Marcus is known for his modern, uncluttered style which often blurs the lines between inside and out. This year, he has been selected to create The Telegraph Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

When did you realise that gardening and landscaping was something you were passionate about?

Landscape Design was not something I dreamed about as a child, it was a passion and longing that slowly developed. My mother was a keen gardener and I spent much of my childhood running around forests and fields but it wasn't until I was serving in the Scots Guards that I became obsessed with landscape design. A little while after leaving the army, I finally gave in and went to study landscape design at The Inchbald School of Design. Once my course was finished, I set up my own practice and the rest is history.  

Why did you decide to change from a job in the military to garden design?

Landscape design is certainly a leap from life in the army but I still use a lot of the skills I learned in the forces - tight management of timelines and budgets, clear communication and attention to detail are all vital for a project to run smoothly. Understanding the lie of the land and appreciating all its quirks and characteristics is another area of overlap - but that's probably where the similarities stop. As a landscape designer I really enjoy creating something which will hopefully last for generations.

You’re designing The Telegraph Garden this year – what have you got planned?

I have to be careful how much I give away. The garden is inspired by the De Stijl Movement which used strong rectilinear geometry and bright primary colours. So paths, waterways and differently sized blocks of colour and texture will stand out whether the garden is seen from within or from above. Two walls punctuating the boundary hedges will act as a foil for the planting, while trees and hedges will provide some dappled shade as well as some vertical and sculptural form. I am choosing plants which will provide a tonal balance and textural contrast within each space, and I am aiming to offset the brighter colours with the use of movement, together with restful greens and whites. I can't wait to see it finished.

You’re also designing the garden for Scott’s Restaurant, what can visitors expect?

Scott's asked us to create an 'oasis of the countryside' on their terrace - not an insignificant challenge. We've come up with a simple design. Rustic planters around the tables and hanging trellises covered with country plants and flowers will hopefully bring a bit of English countryside to Mayfair and set off Scott's favade at the same time.