September 9, 2019
At Dewlands Garden Design, we have processes in place that ensure all of our customers are delivered a project which runs smoothly, efficiently and to budget. A lot of that comes from the experience of our founder, Eugene Hill, who explains how his corporate background gives us the ability and experience to design and create gardens which our clients love.
Experience working under pressure
I’ve had the benefit of working for 20 years in a high-pressure corporate environment. As a rough-edged 21-year old I went into Proctor & Gamble as a production engineer, then got promoted through production and project management roles. Next, I moved onto DeBeers, working principally as an IT director, and then to Tesco, working on its global IT systems. Through those 21 years of corporate work, I gained experience dealing with senior management: directors, chairmen and executives working on high-pressured, complex projects and initiatives. All this experience means that, when my clients have me delivering a project, they come back home after a long day of work to a project at home that is running without problems. My background means I can offer a professional service with the organisational skills I’ve gained in the corporate world.
A professional customer experience
If I deliver a garden design project for you, I know you want to be listened to and to be involved in deciding what you want your overall design to look like and to include. Then you need that to move seamlessly into the design stage, and for the project to be created and delivered without anyone having to deal with lots of problems along the way.
I come with that understanding of where the client wants to be, and I have the capabilities to deliver upon that. My experience allows me to understand client needs perfectly, then have the professional approach to be able to deliver it – because that’s what was required of me in my high-pressured, demanding corporate roles.
While a lot of my clients may have money to spend, it’s still essential to realise that budget is important. When I design a garden, I work to a budget; having a corporate background has taught me how to budget and to deliver against those budget expectations.
Sometimes my customers ask for extra things that may cost a bit more, and then it’s about having a sensible dialogue with them, so they can clearly see what is already budgeted and costed, and what a change or addition will cost, so they are in control. My previous experience has helped me to appreciate that there isn’t a bottomless pit of resources; the money needs to be respected to avoid problems.
Managing and communicating with multidisciplined teams
Working on complex projects means I’m used to balancing multidisciplined teams. In the past I’ve had to work with production teams, supply chains, warehouses, quality control and finance simultaneously, so I’m well used to interacting with everybody from the cleaner to the CEO.
In the world of garden design, you have a vast array of people, including surveyors, landscapers, technical engineers and, of course, the clients. If you’ve come from a more isolated background, you perhaps might not have experience interfacing with people on lots of different wavelengths. To deliver a great garden, you need to pull lots of capabilities together, such as plumbing, carpentry, hard-landscaping and construction, design, planning permissions, structural calculations, planting and client interaction, and it’s difficult to do if you haven’t developed the necessary skills.
Sometimes it’s about knowing what you don’thave to explain to different people. For example, for the client, you need to give them all the information they need to enable them to envisage the final project; but the fact that we’re going use an M12 bolt on that pergola and sink the post 900mm into the ground with Gen 1 or Gen 3 concrete – the customer doesn’t always want or need to know that. It’s important to get it right and detail it in the specification. Having worked in senior management roles, I understand what’s important to communicate to the different players, making sure all the information is there when needed.
When I worked for DeBeers, I got into an environment where luxury and sparkle were really celebrated; I’m not a jeweller but I’d go into workshops and – as an engineer by training – I’d be looking at processes and craft and be exposed to that human desire for perfection and beauty, to get to work with incredible materials.
Some of that desire to create something special and beautiful rubs off; it makes me want to deliver something of the same value to my clients – something that can be passed through generations like a DeBeers diamond necklace. A professionally designed garden has structure, value and longevity – and it’s something a bit more real than a huge diamond.”
At Dewlands Garden Design, it’s not just about creating a beautiful outdoor space, it’s about doing it within budget with minimum hassle, ultimately creating something that you and your family can treasure – perhaps even for generations.