Five questions for creatives

Robert Barker

Robert Barker is a garden and landscape designer who studied with the RHS, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Garden Design and Planting Design at Capel Manor College. Robert was recently awarded the prestigious gold medal award for his first show garden at the 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. His company Robert Barker Garden and Landscape Design was created to bring together his passion for plants, people, nature, a love for modern architecture and an understanding of how a garden design can work in harmony with its environment to create a timeless landscape.

How did you get into the creative industry, and was there a defining point in your career that led you on that path?

After a career in music as a singer/songwriter I visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 and stood beside Andy Sturgeon’s Daily Telegraph garden and instantly fell in love with garden design and right there and then I knew that I wanted to change the direction of career. The following year I was studying with the RHS and worked as part of a gold medal and people’s choice winning team for Diarmuid Gavin at the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Is there anything you would change in your current career and if so why?

I wouldn’t change anything, my design career is still relatively new and I have achieved so much already. To be creating gardens that my clients feel such joy in makes me feel very lucky and to already have an RHS gold medal has been the icing on the cake.

Where do you see yourself, and your career in five years time?

I have just returned from showcasing my first show garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which was an amazing experience. I would obviously like my business to grow and expand but I would also love to create more show gardens and I hope to see myself showcasing a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. That is where my design journey began and to return there with a garden of my own would be incredible.

Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?

Although most of my designs are created on a computer the importance of being able to draw is so crucial. When I visit a clients garden for the first time I will finish my meeting and then drive around the corner and franticly sketch ideas onto a notepad. The design will change in many ways but the essence of the finished design will have been created in those initial drawings.

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in the creative industry?

Don’t isolate yourself, being in the creative industry can often mean that you work alone. I have made a deliberate effort to meet other designers and creative people, which have not only kept me sane but have kept me inspired.

You can view more of Robert’s work on his website: