in Landscape and Garden design
Read about our recently graduated diploma student,
Conor McGrath, his story and newly found success
Above: Conor McGrath
Planting the seeds... from civil engineer to garden design student
“Before signing up for the course with Limperts Academy of Design I was a project manager in the construction industry, with a degree in Civil Engineering.
Whilst I had always had a keen interest in design generally, it was not until I bought my first house that I really developed an interest in garden design.
Back then I watched every garden design show on TV and I started to do some basic garden designs firstly for my own garden and then a few for friends and family. I had thought about doing an evening course in garden design, but I was driven by a love of garden design more than any specific intention of moving into the industry.
I chose to study Landscape and Garden Design with Limperts Academy. I was looking to learn more about planting and softscaping, always a weak area for me, and to get some hints about the whole design process. After finishing the course, I can say that it has far exceeded all my expectations. I was not expecting it to cover so much ground and to give us such a basis with which to actually become a professional garden designer.
There was a lot more work to be carried out for our assignments than I had thought there would be the amount I learned from completing each of them was unbelievable!
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Growing... from design student to TV garden design contestant
During my studies, RTE were planning a new TV programme. The production company was looking for amateur garden designers to design and build a garden. The show, Super Garden, would be judged with the final winner being put forward to create a garden at Bloom 2009.
Based on the feedback I was getting on the course, I decided to apply to enter the competition to be one of the 5. My design was chosen and, after an interview with Dermot O’Neill, and a few nerve tingling days, I was selected. I was introduced to my clients, who wanted something with a real wow factor (no pressure then). They were so trusting as I went through survey, checklists and design ideas which we had developed over the course of the year at Limperts.
Above: All of Conor Mc Grath's Super Garden project
Pic from his website: www.icongardendesign.ie
I didn’t win, darn it, but the experience was incredible, the learning curve huge and it was so much fun. I have more people to thank than an Oscar winner. I learned a great deal from all of them and especially Dermot O’Neill – who was a true gentleman and who couldn’t do enough to help.
Flourishing... a garden design career
At the time I applied to the Super Garden programme, I had almost completed my Limperts Diploma. I was about to start my final project, and I had been half thinking of moving into the professional garden design business.
I was surprised at how much I had learned so quickly. And I was still a little unsure if I would be able to make the step to becoming a full time designer.
The TV show gave me the push that I needed. I decided that if there was even a chance that I could be earning a living from doing something that I absolutely loved doing I would be crazy not to at least try!
My brother-in-law had been my right-hand-man throughout the entire Super Garden show. After the show we went on to set up our GardenDesign and Landscape Company, iCon Garden Design. www.icongardendesign.ie
Since July this year we have designed and built four gardens. We have been commissioned to do nearly 20 designs for clients. We are also currently working with one of the main sponsors of the Ireland's Bloom 2009 show where we have been asked to design and construct their main stands for the flower tent at next years event.
Not even one of the wettest summers on record has been able to dampen our enthusiasm. We have had a hugely positive start to life in the Garden Design industry and all the signals are pointing to a bright future.
It’s been quite a year since I decided to take up the Limperts Academy Diploma in Garden Design & Landscaping.
Looking back now it has proved to have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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