Seaford College alumnus Will Williams has gone on to establish his own successful garden design firm since leaving the school in 2012 and will be exhibiting at the Hampton Court Garden Show from 5-10 July. He spoke to us about winning a gold medal at the Ideal Home Show, his sources of inspiration and his advice for current pupils.
Years you attended Seaford: 2009-2012.
What do you do for a living now? I’m a self-employed garden designer. I set up my own design firm, Will Williams Garden Design, last year and have now successfully designed a number of private gardens.
What are your happiest memories from your time at Seaford? All of my memories from Seaford are happy ones. I loved playing golf in the summer – I will always have fond memories of walking down the fairways. We used to play after prep in boarding.
What do you feel were the greatest benefits of attending Seaford? Seaford was a great school to go to. It provided so many opportunities and paths to follow. I think the subject that has helped me the most is Design and Technology. I didn’t know it at the time, but it gave me a great foundation to build upon. Using CAD software, technical drawings and construction are all things I first learnt at Seaford and now use and consider every day.
Are you still in touch with many other alumni? I’m still very good friends with some of my old classmates – we still meet up regularly for a beer and a chat.
When was the last time you were back at the school? The last time I came back to the school must have been about six months ago to play golf. It was great to see the College again. I will definitely be back in the future to play another round!
How did you come to be involved in the garden design business? I first became interested in garden design when I left Seaford. I found a summer job after my GCSEs working with a local landscaper in London. The company was great and I loved working with them. Although it was hard work it matured me and taught me how to think and speak as an adult. Once the summer ended, I soon found another job working again with a landscaper and I received more responsibility as time went on.
I enlisted on a course in Horticulture at Brinsbury College to learn more about plants. I took part in the 2014 Young Gardener of the Year competition at the Ideal Home Show and our design won the college a Gold Medal and Best in Show award. That was the point I became hooked on garden design. I then studied at the London College of Garden Design, which was where I learnt how to see and think as a designer.
What do you turn to for inspiration? When I get stuck for inspiration, I tend to take myself away with a sketchbook, go for a walk in the Downs or grab a coffee and clear my head. The design is there – it just needs to be found.
What are your plans for the future? It has been my goal since design school to be one of the youngest garden designers to compete on Main Avenue at the Chelsea Flower Show. So who knows, maybe this will happen in a few years!
What advice do you have for current Seaford pupils? My advice to pupils would be work hard in the subjects that you are good at and enjoy. Make the most of what Seaford has to offer – you may not miss it now but in the future you will! Once you’ve left, don’t be scared to take risks – start your own business or do something different.
Read more about Will’s garden designs at http://www.willwilliamsgardendesign.com