What If

Phase 1 : Developing an Idea

“Ideas are what sparks anything else”

Coming up with ideas may come natural at times but often it is a process in itself.
A creative block that just seems to last for forever can lead to an uncomfortable spiral of unproductiveness.

Here are a few tricks and tipps to help you get your creative juices flowing:

“Start with what you already know”

Generating ideas is the goal here.
They can be anything: From serious to sad and all the in-between thoughts that pop up.

Start with any information that is given to you for the finished result such as a garden-design, a drawing or a new product that you are creating. It doesn’t matter for now if you feel the information is not relevant like:
dates, season, limitations, size, area and so on.

Another way to get your thinking juices flowing is to think about limitations that might be existing from the start in the case of garden design it is mostly related to the available space or even climate, wether a site is exposed or sheltered but also things like time-frame, materials or other information from the client.

When you have no client or a client that gives you free range try to imagine and create one for this particular project. What would they think about the project, What emotions or thoughts would they have.
There are many angles and directions this can go in. There is no right or wrong at this stage.


These little exercises should help you to get your thought-process going.

“List of Objects”

Sometimes when you are starting with a new project there is nothing that speaks to you immediately.
A great way of generating a conscious stream of thought is to look at whats is right in front of you.

Empty your bag or look at what objects are around and write a list of contents such as:
Pen, Lunch, Lamp, Phone Chargers.

Any object will do and if you still feel stuck think of categories to summarise them, differentiate larger objects and direct them. Then think about what they might have been used for before the ended up in your life.
Touch the objects and study them. Experiment with them and see what comes naturally to you.

Your mind will take over from there and lead you in many directions. Note them down as you think them.


”What if” your pen was made of the last piece of graphite on earth?
”What if” your phone charger was a teleportation device, where would you go?


“Developing a relevant Idea”

Your creative mind is already racing with ideas waiting to be explored.

Make sure that the thoughts don´t lead you astray by remembering the context you are creating in.

It is time to hone in onto to develop the mere thoughts and ideas into something tangible.

Once settled on one relevant idea that sparks your interest you can start to develop a concept out of it. This doesn't mean that other thoughts that might reappear and can´t be incorporated into your development.

Refine the idea and relate it back constantly to the goal you want to achieve for example a garden design.
Going with the graphite idea mentioned above:
”What if” you could incorporate shapes from graphite quarries?
”What if” you would introduce different stages of graphite into the design?

Besides diving deeper into what a particular idea can look like it is important to acknowledge what is realistic. Research can be quite effective to inform you about processes, new elements and being able to evaluate how feasible your concept is.
This takes the idea into a concept. Thinking about the implementation of your idea to reality or the physical constraints that limit how you can develop the concept.

For me personally the most important thing in this overall process is to allow anything to happen as well as writing down ideas and even draw little sketches to see if something would visually work.


Once you are at this point the second stage can commence which will be covered in the Live-Session on Monday the 25th of March titled “From Idea to Masterplan”.
There we will dive into practical tips for visualising the concept that you came up with.


Phase 0: Becoming part of the Process

“What if you could be part of a design process …”

Images from “The Urban Escape” a small living space displayed at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2018


The idea of sharing the process for the upcoming show garden called “What if” at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival came from a need to enable others to take part in the different phases of an original design.

For that reason I have decided to take you on a virtual journey and share as much as I can to involve you in the conversation and this is how:

#malvernshowmonday
Every second Monday from the 11th of March to the 15th of April there will be an Instagram Live-Session at 6pm (GMT) enabling you to directly tune into each phase, sharing your questions and being part of a unique experience.

Here is what is planned:

Phase 1 : Developing an Idea 11th of March
Phase 2: Idea to Masterplan 25th of March
Phase 3: Colour, Texture and Plants 8th of April
Phase 4: Live Q & A 15th of April

To keep you connected with the process each live-session will be accompanied by a blogpost about each individual phase including some special tips and tricks.


Be a part of the process for “What if” and enjoy the perks coming your way including:

* exclusive behind-the-scenes tour
* blogposts with tips and tricks for each design-phase
* a chance to win two tickets to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival for Saturday the 11th of May