A chat with the young brothers making waves in contemporary British horticulture
Having studied as landscape architects at university, brothers Harry and David Rich have gone on to become two of the most refreshing and unarguably debonair talents in British horticulture. We are certainly in awe of the portfolio that the Welsh brothers have so far built.
With a keen eye on the Chelsea Flower Show - a significant event on the London Season calendar - we wanted to learn more about the personalities behind the landscapes, the brothers' upcoming projects and where the duo's future ambitions lie...
How did you both come to venture into the landscape design world?
It wasn’t the goal to work for ourselves but somehow we ended up partnering up to create Rich Landscapes. We’ve been very grateful at that decision, as we love what we do. It was then just the process of always aspiring to do better and that’s where featuring three times at the Chelsea flower show provided opportunities we never really though would happen.
Do you both have set targets that you aim to achieve with each piece of work?
We always try to stay honest to the sense of place, it’s really important to capture the essence of the space that we are designing. The other main direction is understanding the client and their personal needs for the space. Lifestyle is very important to us and we always see gardens as outdoor rooms, so we try to make them as bespoke and stimulating as possible.
Cloudy Bay Garden at Chelsea 2015
How much of a career highlight was winning a gold at the Chelsea Flower Show?
It was an amazing day for us to win a gold medal on main avenue, we weren’t sure if we pushed the boundaries too far for a show such rooted in tradition, but it seemed to do the trick. We never want to just settle into this industry, it’s more fun trying to push boundaries and introduce more innovative design.
Cloudy Bay Garden at Chelsea 2015
How do you manage to keep your hands in check after such frequent physical work?
If we’ve been building and planting a lot then we always have to keep the hands moisturised.
What projects are you currently working on?
We’ve recently been to China and Barcelona to look at some projects, which has been an amazing experience. It has always been our goal to take our work overseas. In 20 years time we would love to have a patchwork of gardens and landscapes around the world. We’ve also got a roof terrace in Notting Hill and we are in the early stages of discussing designing the landscape around a Spa retreat, so a nice eclectic mix.
The Garden at Saatchi's Chanel Mademoiselle Privé
How do you like to spend your weekends?
If the sun is shining Dave is out at 6am and heads off to skate the bowl, I enjoy a lazier morning but always make time to play my trumpet. Otherwise we like to cook good meals with friends and pop to the pub. Now summer is upon us we’re relaxing in the park and spending as much time outside as possible. I’ve got a Black lab so I can’t forget that we take her for walks! But she comes everywhere with us anyway.
Canaletto Tower Terrace
What advice would you offer to any gents who don't have a garden but are keen to curate a natural space at home?
There are lots of ways of bringing a bit of nature into your home, fiddle leaf figs, herbs, terrariums and even pots on your balcony. It’s more about finding a light spot near a window and having some creative license. For most house plants you don’t need a sunny spot and we feel that a bit of greenery adds a lot to your space.
Do you have any time management tips for someone looking to start a landscape project?
If you don’t have a lot of time then picking a manageable space to start from is key. From our point of view addressing what you really want from your garden is important, it’s always nice to have a seating space outside so maybe that’s a good place to start. Everyone needs a little retreat away from such a manic city.
Click here to view more of the Rich Landscapes portfolio.