January 25, 2019
The founder of Dewlands Garden Design, Eugene Hill, has spent a lot of his life working in the corporate world. The higher he climbed, the less he had a chance to work on the creative things. That’s why he started up his own company, to be involved with creative projects but deliver the same level of professionalism he always has in a corporate setting. He shares his thoughts on why designing gardens is so much more satisfying than corporate life:
“In the modern world, most people aren’t going to follow a single career path for their whole life; people change direction – often multiple times – to work on new things that we realise we’re more suited to or get more fulfilment out of. I spent a good deal of time working in a corporate environment for companies such as Procter and Gamble and DeBeers, but the further up the corporate ladder I went, the less chance I had to do the creative stuff – the stuff I really enjoy. I became quite disillusioned.
We all have the natural intuition to be the best we can at the things we do; working in a corporate environment you always feel a drive to do better and climb higher, but for me it was a Catch 22 – I wanted to climb higher, but I didn’t want to leave my creative side behind me, which is what happened the higher I went.
I’ve always loved creating and designing things, and then going out and actually making them; although I did sciences for A level and at University, I have always loved art alongside designing and building things. As a child, I was forever making things. And that’s why I got into garden design.
Here I have to use my engineering brain to solve problems, my corporate nous to see things from a financial perspective and to project manage successfully to deliver the projects on time – but I also get to use my inner creativity to see solutions to problems and make them come true. For example, in one of my projects, we designed and built from scratch an outdoor amphitheatre-style room. This required me to firstly have the vision to see this opportunity and then the willingness and aptitude to build the whole structure myself – which involved learning the traditional art of steam-bending oak planks. Something which would never come about in my old corporate environment!
I love that these days I can have an idea one day and then start turning it into a reality the next. There are no corporate hoops to go through to get approval, no stakeholders to convince. I get to use my creativity, learn new skills and get my hands dirty. It’s a much happier place for me!
The lessons I’ve learnt from my corporate background have prepared me well for certain aspects of what I do now. But my garden design business has allowed me to work with my real passion, which is being creative and making things, allowing me deliver high–quality projects to my clients.”