Meet Polly Cook, a garden designer living in Newquay, who has kindly shared her path into the construction industry with us as well as talking about what she loves most about her job.
I’m a garden designer who specialises in design and build in Cornwall. I work on projects ranging from small residential gardens, to school grounds designed specifically for outdoor learning and nature-based play.
After moving to Cornwall in 2011 I developed an interest in gardens and began volunteering for the National Trust and local community projects. After that I decided to make a career change, and study for a BSc (Hons) Horticulture (Garden & Landscape Design) at Eden Project Learning.
After studying the theory of design and build, I wanted to learn all aspects of the process and began working on garden projects alongside other self-employed landscapers and designers.
I enjoy working on garden projects through the whole process; from start to finish. From developing the design alongside the client, to seeing the proposal onto the ground, every job is different. I really enjoy being outdoors and the practical nature of landscaping, which not only keeps me fit but also on my toes – there’s always decisions to be made onsite, or occasionally unforeseen problems crop up and need to be problem solved.
The variety of working outdoors as a landscaper is also a key part of the appeal for me. I get to travel to parts of Cornwall I’ve never been to before, work in all sorts of weather conditions, and see some beautiful gardens. No two days are ever the same; one day I might be pointing some granite setts, the next I could be preparing the ground for planting – or moving tonnes of gravel from one place to the next!
Landscaping a garden is often a team effort, and I really enjoy being part of a tight-knit team. When you’re facing tight deadlines or working outdoors in the rain all day, it’s the people you’re working with that get you through the tough bits.
One of the most exciting parts of a project is being able to turn the client’s vision for their garden into reality. Working in Cornwall means you’re battling the elements most of the time, which demands durable materials and tough plants. The challenge of finding the right solution for both the client and the setting is always an exciting endeavour.