Blog & Insight

Where Landscaping Your Life all started

In the mid 90s we were struggling to get business managers excited and interested about supplier management - we spoke to them about best practice supplier management tools and techniques and their eyes glazed over.

We had to do something, but what?

Then I had an idea.

Those managers did know something about gardening - here in the UK at least those managers either owned their own garden, knew someone who had a garden, visited gardens or had owned a house plant or potted plant at some point in the past.

What they therefore knew about gardening was that plants needed:

  • Watering
  • Pruning
  • Feeding
  • Weeding
  • Support
  • Time in the greenhouse
  • The right soil
  • The right amount of sunlight - ie not every plant likes direct sunlight
  • Protection from the wind
  • and so on

As soon as we said:


The penny dropped.

These managers realised that some of their suppliers were like

  • The plant plonked in the corner and left alone with nothing but hope to support its flourishing
  • The weeds turning up everywhere except where they wanted them to
  • The tree whose roots are undermining the house's foundations, or
  • Self seeding plant covering more and more of the garden with every passing year

And the tools they were using to support these suppliers were

  • Blunt
  • Limited - it's as if they were using a spade for everything
  • Out dated
  • Time consuming
  • or they'd lost the instruction manual a long time ago

Suddenly these managers who had been glazing over when we spoke to them about supplier management were asking questions about how to ensure their suppliers flourished.

Realised their suppliers needed their attention.

That's the beauty of metaphor - we take the patterns about something we know something about and apply them to something we don't know anything about.

A few years later I realised I could expand the metaphor.

Gardens were expanded to nature's landscapes AND supplier management was expanded to life.

Landscaping Your Life (LYL) using nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives was born.

23 years later and it's grown.

There's a book - Can't see the wood for the trees - landscaping your life to get back on track.

Alison Smith 2020 - © Julie Broadfoot -

There's a podcast - Landscaping your Life with Alison Smith.

There's a Landscaping Your Life YouTube channel - turn the sound down first for this one

There's even a series of workshops aimed at team performance using a mix of metaphor and the more usual business models.

Alison Smith Branding 2020 (2023) - © Julie Broadfoot -

And of course there's Landscaping Your Life coaching too - which, where possible, is undertaken out in nature.

And if we're too far apart to meet up I'll be in my office and you'll be at the other end of the phone somewhere in a landscape near you. The testimonial below is from someone who was walking around a landscape in Florida whilst I sat at my desk in Fife, Scotland asking questions.

And as a result of the coaching there's now a Your prescription for wellbeing journal

If you're interested in finding out more about the Landscaping Your Life coaching, speaking or team sessions do get in touch +44(0)7770 538159


© Alison Smith
VAT Registration: 224 5001 58
Registered in Scotland, Registration Number: SC457105
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