06. Le jardin des chênes
Nicola Hills trained as a garden designer at Merrist Wood College in Surrey and graduated in 2001. She then set up her own Garden and Landscape Design practice at Levens Hall in the Lake District in 2003. Since then, she has designed award winning gardens for several Design Festivals including her Silver Gilt medal for the Beekeeper’s Garden at the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. She loves to blend contemporary and traditional design and has a particular passion for planting. Her gardens are designed to enhance natural habitats to improve biodiversity and mental wellbeing. Her designs include projects for Levens Hall Estate, The Cavendish family estate at Holker Hall, The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and Marks & Spencer. She has specialised in sensory dementia gardens for Care Homes and wellbeing gardens for schools and universities. Her private clients include bespoke designs for residential clients in and around the Lake District National Park. She often works with talented local artisans who specialise at an international level in pebble mosaics, sculptural iron works and wood carvings. She collaborates frequently with her husband Tony Hills, an award-winning architect, on both private residential and commercial projects.
Tony Hills is an award-winning British Architect with over 40 years’ experience working in private practice in and around the Lake District of Cumbria and northern England. He had been a Director of large United Kingdom Architects Practices before joining his wife Nicola at Damson Design in 2007. Whilst developing his architectural portfolio, there were also opportunities to work together with Nicola on garden and landscape projects. The husband-and-wife team continue to work together on a number of landscape design projects throughout the North-West of England and enjoy the collaboration of designing buildings connected to the landscape. He believes that all buildings, regardless of their size, should be seen holistically as part of the land-scape they inhabit. Working together Tony and Nicola aim to connect the interior to the exterior on their projects. This helps people enjoy the positive connections between the building and the landscape to support a sense of wellbeing and orientation. Projects they have collaborated on have included new houses, boathouses and gardens in the English Lake District National Park as well as commercial, retail and business parks, care homes and schools and village halls.