Ruth Marshall is one of the founders and Directors of the CGLA group of companies, which includes the Design and Project management business, CGLA, as well as Cool Gardens Landscaping and Cool Gardens Maintenance. Acting as CEO across the companies, Ruth leads the senior team, whilst remaining as a hands-on designer alongside her fellow Director, Vicki Davis, and Head of Design, Eike Selby, and his talented team.
As a designer, Ruth’s colleagues and clients value her not only for her 25 years of great design experience and extensive planting knowledge, but also for her ability to tease out of clients what it is that will work for them in a design.
Amongst a host of other medals and awards, Ruth is perhaps most proud of having achieved the coveted RHS Gold medal at RHS Hampton Court. Not only did Ruth design this garden, but she and Vicki designed, sourced and personally planted the entire piece, working alongside the fantastic CGLA construction team- leading to its being crowned “Best Summer Garden” at a special awards ceremony.
Ruth believes that whilst awards are a much appreciated badge of honour, her greatest achievements are the gardens she has created for her clients. Her mantra is “what my clients want is a garden not just a design”, and it is this passion for delivering a great final result that shines through in her work. Having been involved in over 800 projects since the start of the CGLA journey more than 20 years ago, she has seen large gardens and small, country estates, city roof terraces, and party make-overs for clients across an extraordinary spectrum of needs and aspirations.
In her earlier career, Ruth was awarded a degree from Oxford University and a PhD from Cambridge. Since her studies were in Geology, Ruth has a knowledge (and love of) natural stone that is second to none, and she shares this and uses it to inform materials choices for her clients in what is often the single most important hard landscaping element of a design.
After University, Ruth spent 10 years in the City, becoming a partner in a Management Consultancy firm. The project management and finance skills she learned in this environment have proved incredibly useful in helping her to demystify the budgeting and value engineering process for her design clients, as well as driving her passion for visibility and clarity on finances which she believes to be absolutely critical on what can be huge building projects.
Her infectious drive and enthusiasm are carried into her client projects large and small, as well as her love of snowboarding and her guitar which goes with her everywhere. As someone who strives for improvement in all things, she has encouraged a philosophy within the business of learning from the inevitable errors “may all our mistakes be new ones” leading to a culture of constant improvement.
Ruth favours a highly collaborative approach, recruiting great people and supporting them to shine. She has said from very early days “there is a reason why my name is not above the door” favouring an environment of open dialogue (within the business and with clients) and problem solving over the cult of the personality.
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