Debbie Carroll – Profile

Step Change Design - Debbie CarrollI began gardening from an early age and have always had a passion for nature, wildlife, plants and art. Debbie Carroll Garden Design began in 2004 following studying Horticulture and Garden Design at Sparsholt College, Hampshire.

I am able to draw on a wide variety of skills from previous work roles within the Armed Services and 23 years for John Lewis as a Department Manager for 18 of them. These jobs gave me an early grounding in setting high standards, exceeding customers’ expectations and delivering to deadlines.

Over the years I have gained a reputation for spotting solutions to problems and for seeking out the best practices to enhance how things work, increase sales and manage cost control. I have a proven track record within John Lewis for developing new ideas that were later adopted by the wider Department store division.

I am always committed to seeing a job through and my communication skills ensure that I can paint the vision of what is required clearly to all involved. I am able to work with people at all levels having managed a team of 100+, working collaboratively within a job share and with a wide range of other disciplines within my design business.

I believe that gardens and the outdoors can, and should, improve and touch people’s lives. Building a close relationship with my Clients is important to me and ensures that the resulting design is both thoughtful and has a very personal touch.   Most of my designs are for a wide range of gardens including traditional, urban, wildlife and contemporary. I have also carried out some higher profile, public projects including: hospital and care home gardens, a small public space and memorial gardens.

During 2013 along with fellow garden designer, Mark Rendell, we designed and carried out a research project into what makes gardens effective and more actively used for those living with dementia in a care setting. This has been a thought-provoking and challenging project, causing us to reflect deeply on our own practices and those in our design sector. We have published a summary of our findings and have created a diagnostic tool for use with care homes who want to develop their outdoor spaces.

I love to see our natural world used in a very personal and meaningful way and to seeing people come to life within it.

There had already been positive knock-on effects of doing this exercise. Staff were noticing tiny details and were going the extra mile to engage or interact during a visit to the garden.

Care home manager, Lancashire Step Change - Garden Design 26th July 2016

The results of the study have begun to show patterns in the correct stimulus for getting the most from the outdoor space.

Senior Activity Coordinator, London care home Step Change - Garden Design 26th July 2016

Opened our eyes to noticing different ways of encouraging people to use our garden for different reasons. Continue Reading

Activities Coordinator, care home, Warwickshire Step Change - Garden Design 26th July 2016

A lot of the ideas which were shared are already under way. Such as the re-arrangement of seats to form viewing points and a squirrel obstacle course in the main garden.

Senior Activity Coordinator, London care home Step Change - Garden Design 26th July 2016

[You] have a good understanding of dementia care.

Care home manager, Cardiff Step Change - Garden Design 26th July 2016