sustainable landscape design
for people, nature and climate


Elaine is an RHS Gold Medal award winning Landscape Designer based in Devon with a special interest in creating functional and beautiful spaces that are also sustainable, wildlife friendly and mitigate the impact of climate change.  She has designed and supervised the build of a wide range of projects including private gardens, school and community gardens and public spaces.

After 10 years working as an editor in small, dark film and television editing suites Elaine studied to Masters level in Protected Area Management at the University of London and was then awarded a Masters degree with Commendation in Landscape Architecture at Greenwich University in 2006.  After working for 2 years in a professional Landscape Architecture practice she worked for 3 years as the Expert Gardener for London Wildlife Trust before setting up her solo practice.   Throughout this time she has combined her passion for landscape and the environment with design and consultancy work across a range of projects as well as teaching wildlife gardening and garden design and campaign work for the value of gardens with mitigating climate change.   Elaine has since been awarded with Chartership Status by The Chartered Institute of Horticulture

To find out more please view the Portfolio page or make Contact

Francis Crick Institute Garden


Design work for London Wildlife Trust / London Conservation Services

I have instructed Elaine to create several landscape designs over the past year and I have to say that I wouldn’t take on a design project without her! Elaine’s ability to create wildlife friendly spaces as part of beautiful, sustainable designs make her one of the Trust’s most valued and trusted consultants. Elaine possesses the wonderful ability of being able to bring a site’s design potential to life in a really accessible way. She is also realistic and pragmatic and takes all aspects into consideration to ensure the right design is created for a site. On top of all this, 100% of the design and build contracts that Elaine has completed for the Trust have been delivered on time, to budget and to a high quality.

 Jo Lyon, Contract Manager, London Wildlife Trust/Manager, London Conservation Services

Provenance Row Homelessness Charity

Providence Row is a charity working with homeless people, particularly those who are sleeping rough, with substance misuse and mental health problems.  Our large, paved courtyard was a blank canvass.  It provided an opportunity to create a welcoming, inclusive and beautiful space in stark contrast to the usual experience for our clients.  Elaine understood the transformative nature of the garden for our charity.  Put simply, by valuing our own space we were signalling to our clients that we valued them and their contribution to making and keeping the garden.  Elaine provided a very appropriate design for the site, picking up on existing themes in the buildings and working within the constraints placed upon us.  She was very flexible, approachable and friendly when consulting with clients (some of whom can exhibit quite challenging behaviour at times).  She created opportunities for clients to become involved in growing plants, including things we could eat, without overwhelming them.  Elaine also provided ideas, contacts and further concept plans for other parts of the garden so that we can take forward our next steps in creating a kitchen garden on our roof.

Pam Orchard, CEO

Private Garden, Oval.

We had purchased a house which we planned to completely renovate and also to extend in order to make better use of a fairly large corner-plot garden.  The previous elderly owners were green-fingered but the garden was not to our taste and was in need of a complete redesign given the new footprint of the house.

Neither myself nor my partner knew a great deal about how a project goes from design to build to execution and then to maintenance.  We had some ideas of what the look was we wanted but other than that, we needed someone to take us in hand and guide us through the process.

Thankfully, Elaine was there to help us.  With many issues around the design and renovation of the house taking priority, we were able to quickly describe our goal to Elaine using pictures from books of hers, design ideas and suggestions as to what we may or may not like in terms of the overall look.  Armed with this information, Elaine came up with a range of four or five ideas from which we chose one to be designed in more detail.

Once we had a good idea of what we wanted, a builder was assigned to the job and a more detailed species list put together that would create the sort of texture and colour we wanted – lush greenery with accents of colour … relatively low maintenance … comfortable and beautiful but not too groomed.  As first-time garden owners, Elaine also brought our attention other things that we had not thought about such as the aspect of the garden, lighting, drainage and utility space.

We are absolutely delighted with the end result – it’s a truly fantastic garden that we are going to enjoy watching as it develops.  We can’t recommend Elaine enough.

One Day Design Courses

From Saturday’s brilliant Garden Design with Wildlife in Mind course with the amazing Elaine Hughes – what a fantastic presenter,  full of knowledge and passion for the subject.

Getting dusty on site


The Wild Window Box,   The Guardian 

Make Friends with Wildlife,   The Telegraph

How Best to Create a Wildlife Garden,  The Ecologist

Wild About Gardens,   The Horticulturalist

Offshore Account,   RHS The Garden

Anatomy of a Garden,  The Guardian

Reviews of the RHS Gold Medal Winning Life Cycle Garden by Helen Babbs,  Jean Vernon and the BBC

Being interviewed at RHS Hampton Court