If you are looking for a swift horticultural fix, garden designer Richard Coe is not the man for you. Instead, this UK-trained specialist focuses on a long-term, big picture view of a project and works over many months to ensure what will work best in any given setting.
“My garden design is organic,” he says. After establishing a basic structure, he believes in letting the design evolve over time, getting a feel for the light conditions, soil types, plants and how the seasons affect the site. “I try to build the garden design steadily in layers to create a more natural look in keeping with the surrounding environment,” he says.
Richard specialises in larger gardens and lifestyle blocks of 1 to 2 hectares or more. He is involved constantly from design through to project management and maintenance, a process which means that the budget is spread out over time. He uses native plants to establish key structural aspects and a strong foundation, before adding selected exotics for colour and richness. The resulting style is distinctive, based on building a design up through simple layers of form and structure that each create different views and perceptions.
Richard’s passion for plants stems from his childhood. While he was educated in the UK, he lived on several continents, from Asia to South America, which built his plant knowledge, colour palette and love of a wide variety of plants. He now loves sharing this passion for plants and design with others.
Since moving from the UK with his Kiwi wife early last year, he has been living in Kaipara Flats and absorbing how things work horticulturally here. He has worked as a “subbie” on properties from a rural bach to a huge new mansion near Auckland. Now he feels ready to branch out and would love to create dream garden spaces from the occasional major design brief.
“I approach garden design similar to the way I approach life in general – I believe life is a garden,” he says.