Elin Haaga was born in 1953 in Usk on the Welsh border, but brought up in Somerset in the south west of England. She was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University where she read for a BA/MA in History and she also studied in London University for a Diploma in Education. She taught history at an English boarding school, before moving to the U.S. in 1977.
Elin worked as a writer for 18 years, writing for UNICEF and Save the Children, while living in Asia.After retraining in the University of Maryland and at George Washington University, she now has a garden design business in Bethesda, with residential and institutional clients, and also teaches the History of the Landscape at George Washington University. She gives talks to garden groups as well as to other designers and has spoken regularly at Brookside Gardens, Greenspring Gardens and the National Arboretum. She now lives in Washington DC, but has also lived in Los Angeles, Ithaca, NY, Nairobi, Kenya, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.