sustainable landscape design
for people, nature and climate


Elaine is a Chartered Member of the Royal Chartered Institute of Horticulture; she is an experienced gardener and an RHS gold medal winning Landscape Designer. As well as maintaining and designing gardens, Elaine teaches Gardening and Landscape Design courses in one to one and group settings.

Outdoor Learning

Grow Green Fingers

Do you want to look after your own garden but do not know where to start with all that green stuff that’s in in it? Perhaps you want to manage it more organically or want it to adapt to the changing climate? If so, you could benefit from spending some one to one time in it with Elaine.  An experienced gardener,  Elaine can guide you around your garden’s maintenance needs and help you to gain the confidence to take charge to have your garden functioning well and looking good all year around by yourself.  

Weekly, fortnightly or monthly sessions working in your garden with Elaine over a season or two is probably all it would take to get to know your garden and it’s maintenance needs. As well as learning about your plants you will find out about your other garden features such as paving, trellis and compost as well as ways to create habitat to encourage more birds and bees. It is a winning combination of gaining knowledge, building skills, taking charge and getting some exercise too!

For more information or to book in a free meeting about your maintenance needs please get in Contact

C JoeTwicc @avectwigg

Landscape Design  Courses

Elaine has developed and periodically runs a one day course covering the Basic Principles of Garden Design with a focus on Wildlife and Climate Change adaption.  The course covers site assessment, concept and design development, construction basics and the planting palette. They are mostly desk based but there is opportunity for practical exercises and group discussion and participation if there is suitable outside space.  

It is an intense day and participants are often quite tired and dazed by the end of it but they leave with a better idea and more confidence about how to approach the design of their own outside space.  Recent feedback from an attendee described her day as  “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.

Elaine can also present short 1-3hr seminars on a range of landscape related courses such as wildlife gardening, planting design, composting and container planting.

For more information or to make a booking please get in Contact

Outdoor learning

CWG Garden Management and Landscape Trainee Scheme

Elaine set up and managed London Wildlife Trust’s Garden Management and Landscape Trainee scheme based at the Trust’s Centre for Wildlife Gardening, an award winning demonstation wildlife garden and education centre in East Dulwich, London.   It was a scheme that aimed to show the participants issues about public and private garden design and maintenance within a wildlife friendly and sustainable context as well as broader urban biodiversity landscape issues.  They did this through class room based teaching, on site practical work, site visits and visiting speakers.

The trainees spent a day a week at the centre. They spent the morning on educational subjects such as gardening and horticultural techniques, species identification, landscape design and urban biodiversity and sustainability.  There was a variety of group seminars, site visits and visiting speakers to expand on sustainable and biodiverse urban landscape issues and awareness.  The afternoon was spent in the gardens putting the theory into practice.

CWG trainees in the classroom
CWG trainee working in the garden
CWG trainees clearing the pond
CWG trainees planting a new bed

It was a fantastic project – past trainees developed their skills and awareness of biodiversity and landscape issues and many went on to join garden design and horticulture courses as well as Landscape Architecture programs and employment.  Sadly the funding for the scheme was discontinued but it is hoped that future funding will be sourced and the trainee scheme can continue.

Some feedback:

…I was rather uplifted when I found out that I had been accepted onto the trainee scheme run by Elaine Hughes at the London Wildlife Trust’s Centre for Wildlife Gardening in south-east London. I didn’t know quite what to expect from the scheme, but I was familiar with the urban oasis setting of the CWG and was looking forward to, not just helping out as a volunteer, but receiving something a little more that the usual volunteer feel good factor.

Elaine most certainly did not disappoint. Her relaxed approach is deceptively effective. The scheme has a strong thread of wildlife preservation at its core whilst exploring other aspects of gardening and landscaping. Topics that have been covered include maintaining public and private gardens, attention to details within a landscaped setting, ways to approach design briefs and managing new garden projects.

The balance between theory and practical is just right. This is also the case with how Elaine both teaches gardening principles and facilitates and directs self learning through group discussions, site visits and…. light homework. Elaine’s enthusiasm is contagious and her advice to each individual in each situation that arises is considered and enlightening. Not everyone in such a position manages to strike these balances.

Since joining this scheme my passion for, and knowledge of wildlife gardening and landscaping has grown beyond expectation. The scheme (and Elaine) have given me the confidence to put this knowledge into practice. So much so that I recently put forward a funding and project appraisal for a project within the London Wildlife Trust, had it accepted, and am due to completed the project very soon.

May I take this opportunity to say ‘Thank You!’ to Elaine Hughes and all those involved in making this scheme happen. It’s simply invaluable…

…Through the scheme, and thanks to the assistant of Elaine Hughes and support of the Centre of Wildlife Gardening, I have participated in the Chelsea Fringe Show presenting an edible flower garden with a team of colleagues from the training scheme. 

I also feel a more confident person that can work in a team and can lead activities in gardening. Being part of the Wildlife Gardening Training Scheme has shaped the orientation of my professional future. Without doubt, this type of scheme has and would be beneficial to many others who are seeking or finding their way to prospective careers in the professional world…

…CWG gave me the relaxed environment in which to take on board and digest the vast array of knowledge offered. Working in a collective group proved massively beneficial and is something that I have enjoyed developing further since finding my own community gardening project…

…The Volunteer Training Scheme provides an excellent opportunity to gain hands on gardening experience. Practical learning is very well supported through classroom based theory sessions, talks from visiting professionals, and some fantastic local site visits. I’m now studying Landscape Architecture, and often call upon many of the practical lessons I learnt in the garden. It was great to meet like-minded people, who all share an interest in the natural environment. ..

…I found the scheme both incredibly enjoyable and useful for my professionaldevelopment . I am currently studying for an RHS horticultural course and the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that I gained during the scheme have been invaluable to me in achieving my desired grades. I am hoping to move into the sector in a professional capacity and this course has provided a great basis for this. I would definitely recommend it to other people in a similar situation…

…The course developed my practical skills in gardening with wildlife in mind while also opening my eyes to other related disciplines such as design and landscape architecture. It was an inspiring mix of hands-on work and visits to other open spaces. As a result it confirmed my passion for working with plants. I am now on a full time BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture…