After a Degree in Latin and Spanish from Manchester University, Rufus went on to study Horticulture (RHS), Garden Design (C & G), Planting Design (OCN) and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) at Capel Manor College, whose patron is The Duchess of Devonshire.
When embarking upon a garden design commission, Rufus takes care to identify the nuances of the local architectural vernacular, the historical context of the building and its setting as well as the general “spirit of the place”, his aim being to create a garden not only to inspire but to sympathetically anchor the building or house to which it corresponds, without drawing undue attention to itself. Rufus employs ecological planting techniques in his designs in order to encourage birds, bees and other beneficial insects into the garden, so that a naturally calibrated ecosystem is established which negates (as far as is possible) the need to use chemicals.
Stylistically Rufus favours a garden of strong ‘Green Architecture’ which provides essential structure to the garden in Winter. This ‘structure’ is then softened by timeless classic associations, such as Lavender and Roses, interspersed with mixes of reliable perennial planting, which is designed to thrive in the given situation. Any construction, he believes, should be kept simple, clean and unobtrusive: “The ‘Outdoor Room’ urban garden concept, which we were all besotted with until recently, has now been superseded by important ideals such as sustainability and biodiversity. The ‘Ground-Force’ phenomenon, however helpful it might have been in bringing gardening into the spotlight, is definitely on the wane, as people come to realize that a ‘quick fix’ is a fallacy when it comes to garden-making. A Garden cannot be ‘done’ in the same way as a kitchen or a bathroom – the landscaping and the planting are at the beginning of the garden-making process, not the end.” Rufus takes a hands-on approach to the establishment (years 1 to 3) and ongoing maintenance of the gardens that he designs. Writer, Lecturer and internationally acclaimed Garden Designer Mary Keen affirms the importance of proper, diligent garden care: “What clients often fail to grasp is that the success of any garden is 40 per cent design and 60 per cent maintenance.”
Rufus also enjoys approaching gardens as longer term “restoration and development” projects, getting to know the garden as he brings it into good health with regular maintenance visits, before suggesting key changes that may be adopted over a longer period of time.
Rufus collaborates regularly with other Garden Designers, Architects and Interior Designers, providing either the Garden Maintenance, landscaping or Project management services to their clients, which they themselves do not provide.
Rufus lives in Battersea, London with his wife Natalia and their sons, Tarka, Merlin and Ivo.