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Design inspiration with David Keegan

Pro Landscaper sits with David Keegan of David Keegan Garden Design, discussing his design inspiration and feelings upon being presented an International Landscape Design Award.


Can you tell us about some of your most distinguished projects?

I have been fortunate enough to have received a previous award in the international landscape design awards USA in 2012 for a project in the High Peaks in Derbyshire and that project is one that is still dear to my heart as it perfectly embodies my love of unique and rugged landscape that is the Peak District National Park. The project was also recognised in the Northern Design Awards for which I achieved “Best Landscape Designer 2011”. I am currently working on some very exciting projects and one of the progressions of my work is that projects now tend to be far larger in scope with many taking years to complete. On one I am working on in Marple Bridge we discovered the remains of an historic terraced garden which we are slowly restoring. For another project in keeganChorley in Lancashire I have designed a secret garden, formal gardens and crumbling follies set amidst a Rookery. This project will take the best part of two years to complete but should be something special when finished.


Where do you take your design inspiration from?

I am most inspired by the natural and wild landscapes of the Peak District National Park as it never ceases to amaze me when turning a new corner, or driving down a narrow road for the first time, my breath is taken with sight of a new previously unseen vista. It’s a place that just when you think you’ve seen most of it, you discover a new and unseen part. It’s that element of surprise and wonder that I want to capture in my designs. Winning international recognition hopefully means I am in some small way achieving that goal. At the complete opposite end of the scale I am totally addicted to travel and like nothing more than arranging treks in out of the way parts of South East Asia whether in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, or Malaysia, and I have found much of the inspiration of these trips that seeps into my physce and by osmosis into my designs. Equally, on my many travels around Europe I am always intrigued by cities and find myself constantly looking for pattern form and that could be a building, a piece of paving, or a shop window. The memory on my iPhone is rarely far off full.


How did you feel upon winning the International Landscape Design Award?

It is quite something to open an email that you have been expecting to arrive for a while with nervous anticipation. There is that fleeting moment of part panic, part hope between opening the email and reading through the opening lines telling all entrants how much the judges enjoyed viewing all the entries. Scanning down through the type there it is, the line I had hoped for, but I never quite believed I would read, until; “The judges enjoyed reviewing each entry and I am pleased to inform you that you are an award winner. Congratulations! Your results and the judges’ comments are attached Mr Keegan.”

Reading that I had achieved a Silver award in the international landscape design awards was a moment of sheer joy and satisfaction at having received such an accolade. Having won the Northern Design Awards “Best Residential Landscaping Design 2016 for the same project this award is the icing on the cake. The project also achieved the BALI Principle Award for Domestic Garden Construction in 2017 for the landscape company who installed the project for me “Spruce Landscapes” and honestly I could not have achieved such wonderful results and accolades without the dedication, enthusiasm and hard work of Kris Kennedy, director of Spruce landscapes and his team working in co-ordination with David Keegan Garden Design. This along with the other awards stands as testimony to the importance of the relationship between designer and landscaper and what can be achieved when it’s at its very best. It is also a validation that we up North of the Watford Gap can create designs and landscape that stand up to international scrutiny and competition.

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