Thursday, December 17, 2009

Project 2

Unbelievable...just finished the drawings for our second project. A small country house with garage, work shed, kitchen garden, pond and two patios.
The major issue for me this time was to get the architectural blanks copied...I have to admit that the english print quality is a lot better than here in Germany, and half the price ;-(((
And then the worst thing happened: when rendering sheet number 1 one of the stupid pens sort of exploded and spilled the ink all over the nearly finished work. It ended in a big scream with my cats and husband disappearing and getting out of my way. I was ready to kill.
Then: yould somebody introduce a non-expensive way of shipping goods to England? To send 3 A1 sheets cost me 120 EUR!!! Not a bargain...Anyway, just waiting for Mr UPS, he better be nice and quick.
Then I will start feeling like Christmas, before getting to the next homework...
Did someone said this course is easy?!?!

Mood Board

Site Analysis& Conceptual Diagrams


2D Perspectives & Sketch Plan

Section Elevations, 2D Perspective& Shade Diagrams

Monday, December 7, 2009

Historical Timeline

One of our major projects was to develop a timeline for the last 3 centuries and showing the relations between GARDEN, ART, ARCHITECTURE and SOCIO-ECONOMICS of every decade...
I started at the beginning of October and just finished.
The 20th century was really fun working with, so many beautiful buildings as well as art and gardens. Too many wars but.
It was difficult to decide who is in and who is out, it ended up being a mixture between people and happenings that you can not deny and between the ones that are just important or interesting for ME. Then it came to the point of RELATION and some had to go again. Finding nice pictures making this dry topic more attractive was another hurdle...
At the end it was fun, very interesting and made me look especially at art and architecture with different eyes. And I have learned a lot.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Go green and be environmentally responsible- how aware are you?

Last weeks topic of Duncan Heather "Are you an environmentally responsible designer" made me think. How many resources of nature do we use each day without a need? We as designers are responsible as we have it in our hands, what we plan and what sort of materials we use. (e.g. wood by Paul Ridley) And WE are working with nature, we want to make landscapes to look more interesting, more beautiful and worth living in them.

Isn't our whole life a life in luxury and mostly on the costs of other people and our environment? And if it is not our close environment, it is the environment of others, far away.

How many products do you buy each day that are manufactured somewhere else? It starts with food and ends with cars. Why do you buy apples from New Zealand? Why strawberries in winter from South Africa? Think healthy, be more healthy! Eat the seasons! Eat organic! Because you are what you eat. And you can afford it- just think about how much food you throw away every day, if you spend a bit more, you will be more aware and careful- I bet!

The fashion and shoe industry is big, hey ladies- how full is your wardrobe? A man once asked me- do you need all this? He is right! I don't! What do you really need?
Whatever we buy, it is mostly produced in the far east. If you buy something really cheap, it doesn't matter if a piece of cheese for 1 EUR or a T-Shirt for 5 you think it is made with care and love?

Lu Guang, a photographer from People’s Republic of China made a documentary “Pollution in China".
Have a look, it might change your way of thinking, buying and spending.

Guiyu, Guangdong province,  rivers and reservoirs have been contaminated, a woman is washing in a seriously polluted pond. 

Shanxi Province is the most polluted area of China and shows the highest rate of birth defects. 
“In Some areas of China people’s lives were threatened because of the environmental pollution. Residents suffering from all kinds of obscured diseases, the cancer villages, increase of deformed babies, these were the results of sacrificing environment and blindly seeking economical gain.”
(Lu Guang)

Just live your life with a little bit more awareness and think twice sometimes!

Whatever you do, do it with love and passion, without hurting anyone- people, animals, nature.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stress and not enough time? Gonna love this book...

I did not expect studying and running my normal business as well as moving to a different country leaving my family behind would be that hard, but it is.
For all people who find it difficult to manage time, work, fun and life ;-) I can highly recommend the book "The Four Hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferriss. Easy to read with some good and practical advices before getting a Burn- Out...
His blog is a burner- Experiments in Lifestyle Design- how to learn a language in 3 days, speed reading, time management, online marketing etc. etc. check it out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IGPOTY International Garden photographer of the Year Award

As our principle Duncan Heather pushed us to join this competition I entered yesterday,  3hours before final ;-) We will see, you never know...

You can see the competitor pictures on the IGPOTY website.

Project One

Finalized project one, our first client- late but I am back on track.
Thanks to my class for help and support, you are great guys and it is great fun working with you!

traditional moodboard

contemporary moodboard

conceptual diagrams

Sketch Plan and Sketch Up D2 Perspectives

Planting plan, Section Elevations and 1 Point Perspective

I took pics with my camera from A1 sheets, that might explain the wide angle look... ;-)))

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art in the Garden

Visited this years Art in the Garden exhibition at Hillier Gardens.
Interesting sculptures!
Art in the Garden celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and showed the work of over 70 new and established artists, graduates and local Hampshire artists with over 150 pieces of purchasable art and design. All the sculpture was displayed in a beautiful outdoor setting of the 180 acre Hillier Gardens.

My favourite as well as the annual featured artist 2009 is Sara Machej with her big, white cement organic 'growths'. The sculptures sit on the banks of the pond creating beautiful reflections in the water.

Art in the Garden is curated by Elizabeth Hodgson of Underground Art + Design which is an arts organisation to promote the work of artists and designers. For information on how to participate in 2010 you can contact Elizabeth at:

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Water Gardens and Vectorworks

Sorry for being late with posting this but I had been busy with keeping up...been sick and the Garden Design course at OCGD is really timeconsuming. But we learn so much, it is incredible. First results- the finished project 1 you can see at the Blog of our principle Duncan Heather. My delayed hand-in date is thursday, still have to render one sketch...
Last Friday we had one of the best lectures ever: Pond Construction and Water Plants by Martin Kelley- Fairwater Ltd., one of the leading pond construction experts of the UK. Interesting and really fun listening! I definitely like the idea of natural pond ecosystems or natural swimming pools. Fairwater Ltd. is working hand in hand with BioNova from Germany- based in Munich ;-) so will go and have a chat to the guys...

Today we got introduced to Vectorworks, the CAD- Software. Cool. Lots of things that you can do and lots of things to learn but just a great tool to work professionally. Lecture was done by Tamsin Slatter, the Vectorworks specialist. If you want to book a training or purchase her book about Vectorworks, just go to her homepage. It is really worth it!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The class took a trip to the TATE last week which I unfortunately could not attend as I was in hospital ;-(.
I try to keep up now by searching for art and inspiration in the internet. By doing this I found a nice homepage about a sculpture exhibition in Australia.

It is definitely worth looking at!
Some of my favourites:

Rollercoaster by Lene Desmentik

Inside spoken things by Tim Macfarlane Reld

She thought by Mark McClelland

Autumn shows colour

Ursprünglich hochgeladen von Alex Lehne
Have been off for a while...sorry for that, I am back now.
This autumn I went to see several gardens, my most favourite ones were Knoll Gardens, Hillier Gardens, Heale House, Waterperry...
I found out that you can find something stunning in every garden, just make sure the sun is out and gives a little bit of light.
Various acers are the highlight in a autumn garden, they give such a nice colour range. You can find a wonderful japanese garden in the garden of Heale House.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sketch Up lessons

Played with Sketch Up today and had Tamsin Slatter to give us explanations and help. It still keeps doing strange things after a eyes are sort of square now too after 7 hours of drawing ;-)
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


After 3 full days of 14 hours each my back hurts and I am longing for fresh air and sunshine!!!

Sketch plan, Section levels, Sketch Up 3D model and mood board...I had arguments with my new printer as well as with Sketch Up, still a pretty good program for free...We will get the crits tomorrow...the red pen is waiting ;-)))
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Visit to Knoll Gardens

What a beautiful 4 acre garden in the south of England! It is meant to be one of the nicest gardens to visit in autumn. For RHS- members free...students 4,50.
I became a grass- lover!!! For special events such as Free Plant Club (10% discount for all plant orders, join on, Garden Tours and Masterclasses run by Neil Lucas, the UK leading authority on grasses...also Masterclasses for professional garden designers!

That was last sunday, the reason why I am late is that I was stuck with LOTS of homework, I did not think it would be that hard to go back to school...still not finished, more tomorrow...
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Best Autumn Gardens in England

Sheffield Park Garden
Hergest Croft
RHS Garden Wisley
Exbury Gardens
Knoll Gardens
Winkworth Arboretum
The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum
The Savill Garden
Castle Howard
The National Arboretum, Westonbirt

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Client

Oh my god, three weeks at uni and got the first client already... It is a quite small plot of a town house garden we have to re-design so we ended up in measuring the garden which seemed to be a little chaotic with 16 students and 3 tutors running around...
Correct TRIANGULATION is the secret!
Went to Angel and Greyhound pub afterwards for weekly get-together.
Will look for some safety boots in pink as this was the main issue in class today...ah, and not to forget the hard hat and high-vis jacket ;-)))

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Went to Greystone for Picasa lecture today to find out that my computer misses some RAM ...
Took some more shots for the Plant Portfolio - Greystone's Garden is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

Riding home by bike in pouring rain ;-((( and finished my first garden (design homework), will get the crits the day after tomorrow...cheers!
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Evolution of modern landscape

Had a big lecture today on the evolution on modern landscape.The funniest answer of the first tutors question "What are gardens for?" was "putting the washing out" ;-)))  For some people that might be actually it!
Then we went from the stone circles in Stonehenge and Callanish (that one is VERY nice- Isle of Lewis! been there...) to Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia and back to Europe. I liked the Gardens of Villa d'Este and Villa Lante in Italy - like paradise.
All those pictures around the world - I was waiting to see a garden in Germany ( wanted to be proud...), finally there was ONE example - and that one I did not know ;-/ (Heidelberg?!) We can definitly do better than that!

Got familiar with names like William Kent, Charles Bridgeman, 'Capability' Brown - they have been the leading english garden designers. They designed Stowe, Chiswick, Rousham, Blenheim...
Oh ha, lots of things to read and lots of things to learn...

The evening class was very relaxing and enjoyable - drawing exercise... got first impressions on final exsams and 3rd semester homework...oh my god. A LOT.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trip to Blenheim Palace and Rousham Gardens

Went to Blenheim Palace ( home of W. Churchills family) and Rousham Gardens today.
The first day without sun! Not so good for taking photographs ;-(

Blenheim Palace is seen as a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture and was a gift (!) by Queen Anne to the first Duke of Marlborough (must have been Winston Churchills grand grand grand ... father...).
The famous british garden designer 'Capability' Brown landscaped 2100 acres of parkland (850ha!!!) including beautiful lakes, different formal gardens and lawns lawns lawns.
I liked the gardens although they are VERY formal and I think it looks a lot nicer with the sun out. 

We finally bought a day ticket which gives us access for a whole year (bargain!) as we might come back in winter and spring. And guess what: Karl-Heinz got a adult ticket as well! He just looks a little fat on the picture...

Rousham Gardens have been one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. They were designed by William Kent (1685-1748) with temples, pond, beautiful flower garden with lots of DAHLIAS ( I never liked them because they are a hussle to digg out in autum and put back in spring, but I changed my mind today) and of course a vegetable garden. If I talk about gardens here, I mean probably "park", even the vegetable garden is nothing sizewise I have seen before... its huge.
It was great, stunning and so amazing that even the sun decided to give us a glimpse. Great relaxing and inspiring day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pusteblume (blowball)

Ursprünglich hochgeladen von Alex Lehne

German: Löwenzahn
English: dandelion
Latin: Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia 

  (von Annegret Kronenberg)
Was gestern leuchtendgelb hier stand,
ich heute weiß und flockig fand.

Ein Meer von Pusteblumen steht da, zum Flug bereit,
und eine leichte Brise, trägt übers Land sie weit.

An jedes Schirmchen hänge ich meine Sehnsucht dann,
damit vielleicht auch eines dein Herz erreichen kann.

Autum plants and weed beds

Ursprünglich hochgeladen von Alex Lehne

A lot of people think once summer is over everything dies...well, a lot does ;-)
But even autum weed beds can look very attractive if you take a close look...see more on my flickr autum album.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Homework

Finished today part 1 of first weeks homework...made a relief à la Ben Nicholson ;-) well sort of...
Cutting cardboard- watch your fingers!!!
Finally got the glue off my hands, poor Tom put glue on the wrong side of the cut-out and had to cut it again- Scheisse! :-)))
He was NOT very happy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where to eat in Oxford

After walking a long way last Thursday without knowing where to go for dinner, here probably the best places to eat (please tell me if not so ;-) as I have not tried all of them yet (a former student suggested):

Noodle Nation - fastfood but nice Noodlebar
100-101 Gloucester Green, OX1 2DF, Tel: 01865 201400
Al-Shami - great Lebanese food - I like HUMMUS!!!
25 Walton Crescent, OX1 2JG, Tel: 01865 310066
Loch Fyne - Scottish, super fish restaurant
55 Walton Street, OX2 6AE, Tel: 01865 292510

I had to remove Jamie's Italian...nice attempt to cook italian but not even close! And BAD service!!!

Tootsies - finest burgers in town, yummieh!
Unit 2, B Wing, 41 Oxford Castle, OX1 1AY, Tel: 01865 791715
Turf Tavern - coolest historic pub outside Oxford city walls, Shakespeare thought so too!
between New College Lane and Holywell Street, not visible! Tel: 01865 243235
Head of the River - traditional pub, nice for lunch on sunny sundays- got a little bit sun burned;-)
1 Folly Bridge, OX1 4LB, Tel: 08721 077 077
Mamma Mia Pizzeria - Pizza for everybody!
7 South Parade, Summertown, OX2 7JL, Tel: 01865 514141
Bangkok House - Thai at its best!
42a Hythe Bridge Street, OX1 2EP, Tel: 01865 200705
Greek Taverna - authentic greek food, Have you seen the WOG-BOY yet?
272 Banbury Road, OX2 7DY, Tel: 01865 511472
Las Iguanas - delicious and authentic Latin American food
40-41 Park End Street, OX1 1JD, Tel: 01865 263150
La Tasca -  best tapas in town, hey Luis, let's have a go!
The Old Govenors Office, 5 Oxford Castle, City Centre,Tel: 01865 246464
Wagamama -nice Thai and Japanese!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

First week of Post-Graduate Diploma Course in Garden Design

I am currently studying Residential Landscape Design at the Oxford Brookes University - Oxford College of Garden Design, which is regarded as one of the top contemporary garden design courses in the world.

We worked so far on "Geometry of Shape". The best outcome of this first week is:

- nasty corners in paving create dead space and are the weakest point of any design
- wiggly lines do not look natural, nature (planting) can make it far better than we do

You don't have a wiggly carpet in your living room, do you? So why in the garden? ;-))
Ich studiere derzeitig Landschaftsarchitektur und Garten Design an der Brookes Universität in Oxford- Oxford College of Garden Design.
Dieser Diplomstudiengang wird als einer der besten modernen Gartendesignkurse der Welt angesehen und ist aufgrund der Intensität, des hochqualifizierten Lehrpersonals und der geringen Studentenzahl sehr zu empfehlen.

Diese Woche haben wir am Thema " Geometrie der Formen" gearbeitet, hier die beiden wichtigsten Erkenntnisse:

- spitze Ecken von geflasterten Bereichen kreieren toten Raum und sind Grundlage für ein schwaches Design
- wacklige und kurvige Linien sehen nicht natürlich aus, die Natur (Bepflanzung) ist dazu viel besser in der Lage

Hast Du einen kurvigen Teppich im Wohnzimmer liegen? Nein? Warum dann im Garten? ;-))

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