Our Philosophy

Ruth Willmott Associates is a team of creative design, horticultural and sustainability professionals with a reputation for creating aesthetically beautiful gardens that embrace and work with nature.

As a studio we believe that great gardens can have a wonderfully positive impact on wildlife, local biodiversity and the wellbeing of the people who use them and we strive to ensure our work provides long-term benefits for everyone.

While all of our masterplans are bespoke to our clients and the location, our gardens will always prioritise trees and planting over hard landscaping and we favour organic, sustainable designs with greener boundaries and naturalistic planting.

We enjoy the challenge of designing in conservation neighbourhoods, areas of outstanding natural beauty and with listed properties where building on and respecting what has gone before is paramount.

The opportunity to connect and collaborate with experts and consultants in the wider landscape industry is really important to us.  We are experienced at working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and we have a network of industry experts to ensure our decisions are informed by the best landscape, horticultural and environmental practices  so we can do our work thoughtfully, sustainably and more enjoyably, as a team

We provide a clear, comprehensive garden design service and can manage projects, on time and in budget, from the initial design stages right through to completion. We build in sustainable practices from the moment we are involved in a project. From our first client conversation and site assessment we will evaluate the opportunities for sustainable solutions that we can incorporate into the design, build and maintenance of the garden.

Most importantly, we want to create long-term relationships with our clients and their outside spaces and we strive to ensure our clients really enjoy the experience of working with us and feel as comfortable and confident during the creative process as they do when we handover over the finished garden.

The Team

RUTH WILLMOTT

RUTH WILLMOTT

Ruth Willmott is a British landscape and garden designer who set up her practice in 2010 having gained a Distinction at the English Gardening School. With her first career spent in Management Consulting, it was a trip to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 that changed her perspective and cemented her decision to retrain as a garden designer.

Ruth’s passion for trees and plants and her lifelong love of the natural world underpins all of her work and she relishes the opportunity to offer her clients a renewed connection with their outside spaces and create gardens that make a real difference to people’s lives.

She enjoys taking a collaborative approach to her work, both with her own team and with independent ecologists and horticultural & environmental experts, to create more meaningful landscapes.

Now a familiar figure at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Ruth has received Gold, Silver-Gilt and Silver medals for her gardens and has twice been granted the ‘Best Fresh Garden’ Award.  2022 saw her first main avenue Show Garden for the heritage brand Morris & Co. which earned a Gold medal.

Ruth is passionate about the work of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and is an active supporter of the charity.  She has been an RHS Trustee since 2019 and has sat no several RHS boards since 2014.  She is also a pre-registered member of the Society of Garden Designers.

 

 

PHILIPPA MCKEE

PHILIPPA MCKEE

With a background in biochemistry, Philippa retrained as a garden designer after two decades working across Europe for Unilever.  In 2011 she graduated from the renowned KLC School of Design with an Honours Diploma in Garden Design, winning prizes for both design and horticulture.

Inspired by the natural world, the rural and urban landscapes that surround her projects and a good dose of serendipity, her portfolio covers a mix of projects including domestic, commercial and communal spaces.  She worked with Ruth on show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015, 2017 and 2022 and has extensive experience in project managing both small and large-scale projects.  Philippa holds the RHS Diploma in Principles and Practices of Horticulture, passed with Commendation, and has a wide practical gardening and horticultural knowledge.

She describes her own garden as a ‘continuous work in progress’ where she likes to grow a few new plants every year to see how they perform.

Philippa has been part of the team at RWA since 2015.

PILAR DE LA LAMA

PILAR DE LA LAMA

Inspired by an impromtu visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Pilar enrolled at KLC School of Design in London and graduated with a diploma in Garden Design in 2010.

After graduating, she worked for the renowned Japanese landscape architect Takeshi Nagasaki, where she learnt the Eastern vision of gardens and gardening, before going on to work on garden design projects for a number of high-profile architects and interior designers.

Part of the team at RWA for more than six years, Pilar works on a range of projects varying in size and complexity, from small urban gardens to larger commercial ones.  She also worked with Ruth to design gardens for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015, 2017 and 2022.  Her designs are inspired by her Spanish roots combined with elements of traditional English gardens and art.

She has a love of indoor plants and describes her house as an urban jungle.

JOEY TABONE

JOEY TABONE

A forerunner in the fight against climate change, Joey Tabone has spent 30 years working on sustainability issues both in his native Australia and in the UK.

In 2000 he joined the Australian Government’s Climate Change Office – the World’s first Government department set up to focus on the climate emergency – before moving to the UK to work for HRH The Prince of Wale’s charitable network including The Prince’s Foundation and Business in the Community. In 2012 he led the team behind the START Sustainability Initiative to help people adopt more sustainable ways of living.

Joey began working with Ruth in 2013, providing sustainability advice for her RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden. Since then, he has continued to work with the team helping to engage clients in issues of sustainability as well as advising Ruth and her team on design strategies to help mitigate the climate crisis.

In 2021 he founded his own sustainability consultancy Sixty7.Green.

Joey is a keen gorilla gardener and believes that pollinator-friendly gardens and beautiful green spaces can play a vital role in a lower carbon future.

TONI BOWATER

TONI BOWATER

Toni joined the team in January 2022 after training at the KLC School of Design where she was awarded the Top Student Award in 2021.

Having previously worked as an interior designer, she wanted a career that connected her love of design with a lifelong love of nature, inspired by a childhood growing up in her native Australia and working in the family garden and vegetable patch.

With a strongly-held belief in the healing power of good design and the natural world, Toni’s designs aim to encourage people to connect with their space, relate to it and become part of it.  She tries always to ensure that the design, plants and materials all have a positive effect on the environment and ultimately help users to reconnect with nature.

In 2022 she was selected by the RHS to design a garden for the Hampton Court Garden Festival to encourage people to begin gardening.  The garden, designed for the Wooden Spoon Trust supporting children and young people with disabilities, was awarded a Silver Gilt medal and was adapted, after the show, for a special needs school in Kent.

Toni describes her own garden as a calm oasis of shrubs and seasonal flowers.