Meet: Lisa Ellis

Today we extend a very warm welcome our newest Contributor to join TOC team, Lisa Ellis. Lisa is a Horticulturalist, Designer and founder of Melbourne based business Lisa Ellis Gardens. A savvy woman full of passion, honesty and excitement, Lisa brings with her an extensive horticultural knowledge base and a pure love of beautiful, elegant gardens. With the promise of “plenty to say”, we are excited to have Lisa with us and share her perspective and experience in all things relevant to an inspired life outside.

LE - Sibilias GardenWho is Lisa Ellis?

I started my own horticultural business in 2004 and started building a clientele from there. In fact, my first jobs came from the Burnley job board. I’m really passionate about gardens and this industry as a whole. We’re actually really lucky to work in an industry that is unusually collegiate between one small business and the next.

During my twenties I worked in marketing and project management. I travelled quite a lot and worked long hours, but I don’t think I was terribly happy. It was not until the year 2000 when I was standing in the Boboli Gardens in Florence that I realised that gardens moved me – in a way that was difficult to describe. I knew that I needed to enrol in garden design.

Red White and Blue garden 2Describe yourself

I can be chatty and very social, and I can also be reserved and somewhat quiet. I have a tendency to be very determined as well.

Best known for

Passion and enthusiasm. Reading – I read a lot, mostly fiction. Cinema. Champagne. I love food – in fact if I didn’t get to the gym I would probably be the size of a house. I also love travel – there’s never enough time for travel. I love dogs and I have a rescue kelpie. If I had more time to have more dogs, I’d have Pembroke Corgi’s and name them after plants, maybe just to channel a little of Christopher Lloyd.

Why garden design?

Garden design holds an allure and an addiction that is difficult to distil into words. It is a practice that is deeply tied to history and culture and design movements. It also holds a strong relationship to architecture, interior design, health, sustainability and well-being. It is an art that in itself can bring about a strong connection and a sense of place. I also love the mix of design and creativity with the discipline of running a business. Garden design is also about creating beauty – and what is not to love about that?

Toorak Sunken GardenWhen designing, what is your priority?

To listen to the client, and respond to the client’s brief with as much integrity as possible. The challenge for the Designer is to understand and empathise with the client on how that person wishes to use their space. The responsibility is then on the Designer to distil all of that whilst still creating great design. At times the design process requires a little patience and diplomacy as well – some ideas that client’s impart just won’t work. At the same time a Designer may design a beautiful garden, but if it doesn’t meet the client’s brief, is it a great garden? I’m not sure.

I love the quote by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Perhaps the same can be said of gardens. I also think that the art of exercising restraint is a difficult practice. It’s along the lines of St Augustine and living in moderation.

What aspect do you enjoy the most?

Every day is different from the last and from other days. Some days are crazy busy, and others allow for more contemplation and planning. We have some a team of very talented individuals in the business, and I feel fortunate to do what we do.

planting MIFGS 2015Greatest professional achievement 

The recent win at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show for our garden, Quietude. It was a design collaborative with Cycas Landscape Design. Our garden won a Gold Medal and Best in Show. My bumbling acceptance speech channelled Gwynneth Paltrow, but fortunately without the tears. Mark Browning and I could not believe we survived the ambitious build and arrived where we did – it was something very special.

The Midnight GardenPhilosophy on life

I think Carroll Bryan says it best when she says “No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it”.

What’s next?

We have a garden design, garden maintenance business in East Malvern. We also have an online garden product store and small retail experience in our studio. This year we are focusing on further building our design practice.

The short of it…

Lisa Ellis Gardens
Contributor, Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, Garden Maintenance, Garden Consultation, Online Shop
Melbourne based, designs nationally.