pro landscaper magazine
pro landscaper magazine

30 Under 30 – A catch up with Ashleigh Aylett

by | 27 Jun 24 | Garden Design, Long Reads

© Tom Parsons Photography

Ashleigh Aylett has just been announced as one of the finalists for RHS Young Designer of the Year. Taking place at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July, the competition will see Aylett vying for the coveted title alongside two other designers.

She’ll be working with the Woodland Trust on a show garden that raises awareness on the decline of “trees outside woods.” According to Aylett, nearly half (49%) of these trees have been lost between 1850 and the present day – “a figure I find both staggering and worrying in equal measure, but thankfully the Woodland Trust are doing brilliant work to help turn this around.”

The garden aims to showcase the importance of preserving these landscape features and highlight what can be done to address this issue such as planting native saplings to replace what’s been lost, utilising UK grown plants to mitigate the introduction of new diseases, and diversifying the species planted to enhance resilience.

“My goal is to help spread the message on the decline of trees within our landscape and the steps we all need to take to help turn the tide,” says Aylett.

Her confidence to enter the competition at Tatton came from becoming one of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation winners last year. Since collecting her award in November, she has also been working with Erlam Studio and John Davies Landscape designing an art nouveau garden in South London. “The existing garden, if a little dated, is a plantsman’s paradise, filled with over 30 mature roses which create a wild, romantic atmosphere in the heart of residential London.” Rather than starting from scratch, Aylett is building upon the mature planting by refining it and combining contemporary underplanting so that the charm of the garden isn’t lost.

Her role at the studio is varied, ranging from conceptual design work to development of detailed production drawings, all the way up to working alongside contractors on site to realise the client’s vision. The most rewarding part, though, is developing a relationship with the client, with the knowledge that building the garden is only the start of their journey with the landscape, she says.

“I hoped the 30 Under 30 award would help to expand my network within the industry amongst other like-minded people and that’s certainly been the case,” says Aylett.

She now hopes to inspire others towards a journey in horticulture. “I often feel a sense of awe whilst walking around the gardens of other designers, and I’d love to bring this feeling to others in a small way myself,” says Aylett. “Learning from the dedicated individuals I’ve worked with at my local community garden has taught me about the importance of this inspiration and mentorship.”

Progressing leaps and bounds already, and with Tatton fast approaching, picking up a 30 Under 30 award is seemingly just the start of a flourishing career for Aylett.

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