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The Society Of Garden Designers

In 1981 a few of the country’s top garden designers decided their industry needed its own professional body and as a result The Society of Garden Designers was established and today is still the only professional body in the UK dedicated solely to garden design. Its main aims are to promote excellence in garden design, to recognise and promote Registered Members and Fellows of the Society as professional garden designers and to serve its wider membership.

With many designers working on their own, being a garden designer can be a lonely business. Membership of the Society not only brings access to the Society’s website and online forum but more personal contact via national conferences and regional workshops and seminars. These all provide top quality information and help continued learning. They are also an excellent means of meeting fellow designers and members of other relevant organisations. One of the best things about garden designers is that most are very happy to help others within the profession and local cluster groups are an excellent way of sharing local knowledge and experiences. Groups vary in size and often meet in members’ houses or a local pub and discussions can vary from sustainable gardening to how to persuade a client not to buy a hideous garden ornament!

Through its Directory of Registered Designers, the Society’s website is one of the key ways for clients to find top quality designers. To be included on this list designers must be either Registered Members (MSGD) or Fellows of The Society (FSGD). Fellowship is given to Registered members as recognition of the time, energy and commitment they have given to the Society. To obtain Registered membership a designer must have at least two years full time work experience and have successfully completed a rigorous adjudication process. This process includes the submission of three complete projects, from start to finish, including all survey details, plans and planting information. The designer has to prove they can carry out every aspect of garden design to an extremely high standard before the adjudication panel will approve their application for Registered Member status. It is by this means that the Society can confidently recommend any designer listed on the directory.

Those designers working towards this level of membership are given the opportunity to attend workshops and forums to help them understand what they should be aiming for. Along with conferences, seminars and cluster groups the Society provides numerous means of support for all its members. As a non-profit making organisation the Society uses all its membership funds to further the aims of the Society and it is keen to continue to add to the list of Registered members.

One of the perks of membership is not only receiving the Society’s newsletter Vitis, but also The Garden Design Journal, produced 10 times per year. This is the only UK magazine aimed squarely at designers and contains articles relevant to design rather than more general gardening as seen in other publications. Latest design theories and trends are explained, problems of climate change and how it will affect gardens are discussed and wonderful gardens both old and new are amongst those items featured. Topics for articles are wide and varied with the result that whatever the designer’s experience there is sure to be something of interest.

The Society is an organisation at the forefront of garden design; providing a source of learning and support for its members and a reliable starting point for clients to locate a reputable designer.

For further information please go to: www.sgd.org.uk

© Sharon Brown 18th January 2008

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