James graduated with a first class honours degree in Garden Design from the University of Greenwich in 1998 and is a fully accredited and registered member of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) in the UK and the Fédération Française du Paysage (FFP) in France.
After establishing a reputation for community and Hospital gardens in London, he moved to the South of France and set up Scape Design sarl in 2000 with his wife Helen in order to pursue their passion for creating sustainable landscapes and planting design for private clients. A strong advocate of dry gardens James is renowned for raising awareness on the importance of working with locally sourced plants and traditional materials, using no irrigation and keeping maintenance to a minimum. His philosophy is a machine-free (minimal mowing, strimming, hedge cutting or blowing) maintenance programme. For pest control his approach is to treat bugs with bugs (using natural predators) not chemicals that leach back into the soil.
James has a regular radio programme entitled ‘Lessons from the Landscape’ that explores the inspiration the natural landscape can give us and how different elements can be adapted to a domestic garden that is in keeping with its natural surroundings. He has given conferences and had papers published based on a Generative Art approach to planting.
He has been a finalist for the last two editions of the ‘Victoires du Paysage’ in France winning Gold in 2014 and has been a finalist in the annual SGD awards in the UK in 2013, 2014 before winning the hat-trick of Planting Design, International and the Grand Jury Award in 2015.
James has won Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower show in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and a Silver Gilt in 2012. He also won Gold and the special ‘Flowers and Peace’ Award at the Gardening World Cup in Japan in 2012, Gold medal and Governors Award in 2014 at the Philadelphia Flower Show and Gold medal with best construction and best indoor lighting at the Singapore Garden Festival in 2014, a silver medal followed in Singapore in 2016.