Designer Showcase - Jo Manfredi-Hamer


In the second in our Designer Showcase series, award winning Yorkshire, England garden designer Jo Manfredi-Hamer answered our questions.

Jo designed a garden for Harrogate Flower Show 2019 for Leeds Mind – both towns in Yorkshire, England. The garden theme was to show the journey someone goes through when dealing with mental health struggles. It won gold.

How did you start out as a designer? My background was something completely different, I was a partner in a law firm. But I always loved gardening, so one day I decided to go for the BBC 2 TV programme in 2016 “Great Chelsea Garden Challenge” and was accepted!

I didn't go far in the show, but I had 3–4 days to construct a garden, and since then I've never looked back. I then went on to do a foundation degree with the Northern School Garden Design, and I've been designing gardens ever since.

Photo credit: Harrogate Flower Show

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Where do you take your inspiration from in your designs? Anything and everything. I often look within the garden and see what speaks to me. I like to push myself outside the creative comfort zone, I believe that’s when you get the best results.

I don't really have a set style, but I'm more towards classic/contemporary. I wouldn't say I'm uber modern, but I'm also not entirely traditional.

How do you approach sculpture in garden design? I always try to get sculpture into my designs. Sculptures are not only a focal point, but they're the icing on the cake! They make a garden a cut above the rest.

Sculpture has to be in proportion, and fitting to the concept. But it's an important part of my thought process when designing.

Kernel sculpture as the focal point of Jo Manfredi-Hamer

Tell us about your garden at Harrogate 2019 when you used our Kernel sculptureThe purpose of the garden was to show how mental health is managed by people. The chairs represented talking therapy, while the guitar and tennis rackets represented distraction therapy.

The Kernel was to show the culmination the journey through the garden - how these therapies can reach a stronger state of mind. For me the Kernel was a strong icon to represent this.

Reception to it: people were very supportive and I was so pleased to have won gold. Nicholas Edward Gardens built the garden beautifully and sponsors included Marshalls, Johnsons of Whixley and Stone Warehouse.

Who's your favorite garden designer? Chris Beardshaw, an amazing designer.

Photo credit: Harrogate Flower Show

Garden designer Jo Manfredi-Hamer

What's the future for garden design? Going towards sustainable garden design – seeing people reuse materials, conscious of planting and having ecological planting which is good for our biodiversity. I often get inquiries about hedgehogs and bees and take these requests as an opportunity to be more wildlife aware in the design process.

I'm always asking what will happen with materials working with contractors. I try to reuse as many materials as I can in the garden itself.

People can be scared of plants but I try to educate my clients about maintenance and the role plants play for nature. You don't need a wild flower meadow. Plants that last the year are still good for the environment and nature.

Photos credit: Andrea Thornton Photography

David Harber's Designer Showcase will promote the work of garden designers through our website, social media and in newsletters. If you have worked with David Harber before and would like to feature in the Designer Showcase, please get in touch.

Kernel sculpture at the Harrogate Flower Show, Yorkshire, England


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