Richard Miers has been designing gardens for over 24 years, both in the UK and abroad including a dacha in Moscow, a villa in Sardinia, a country garden for a grade 1 listed house in Norfolk, a 15 acre garden for a new build Palladian mansion in Surrey and numerous town gardens and roof terraces in London. Lauded as one of the top ten up and coming garden designers by House and Garden Magazine in February 2011 he was also invited to design a show garden for The Daily Telegraph/House and Garden Fair in 2007. In 2012 Richard was chosen to represent the United Kingdom in the Gardening World Cup in Nagasaki Japan with his garden ‘Serenity’ and in 2017 he was again invited by House and Garden Magazine to provide a garden feature at their festival at Olympia.
Richard’s gardens are clean and classically contemporary in style, with a strong sense of geometry. When designing, Richard likes to begin by putting structure into his designs, be it with hedges, walls, paths, terraces, water, trained fruit trees or an avenue of trees. These divide the garden into areas of manageable human scale, defining spaces and giving each area a purpose whilst providing shelter, varying points of interest and framed views; they also help hold the garden together through the winter months. This structure is then softened with bulbs, herbaceous flowers, shrubs and roses so that with the advent of spring & summer the excitement of the budding flowers adds a new, altogether softer dimension to the garden.
If there is a theme that runs through his work it is the curved hedging that winds its way though his herbaceous borders or stands out in sensuous baroque curves against lawn or gravel. Symmetry is also important, coupled with a sense of balance and proportion, resulting in gardens that are both harmonious and handsome. Design ethos: ‘Good garden design is all about teamwork and communication. Translating ideas coherently to both client and contractor is key.’ The following photographs and drawings are just a small sample of Richard’s work.
You have a great experience as a garden designer with more than 24 years working in different countries. But how was your beginning with this nice sector?
I started gardening aged 8 at school. I loved growing radishes, lettuces and carrots as well as flowers. I then studied garden design whilst working in a garden centre in London for a year and as was then fortunate enough to work for Arne Maynard (one of the world’s top designers) as his right hand man for 10 years before setting up my own practice.
You were recognized as one of the ten best (up and coming) garden designers by the House and Garden Magazine in 2011.
What do you think about this recognition and how do you feel? It was a great feeling to be recognised in his way and it was a nice pat on the back at the time. Normally one is just working in a small team of the client, the landscape contractor and myself so wider praise is always welcome!
Another important recognition was that you were chosen as representative of the United Kingdom in the Gardening World Cup in Nagasaki, Japan, that is one of the most amazing countries about the design of its gardens.
This was a fantastic opportunity for a number of reasons. It was amazing to travel and see another country and culture, to meet other garden designers from around the world and also to create a garden from nothing in two weeks. Great fun and a number of lifetime friendships were made there.
I would like to go back to your beginnings again to find out how you defined your own style, what was your inspiration and what style defines you?
I’ve had my work described as classical contemporary which uses simple geometry to create peaceful, harmonious and beautiful spaces. I take my inspiration from so many different sources but mainly architecture, art and nature.
You have developed your creations in the UK, but also in many other countries. How does being in other countries, that have other climates and indigenous plants pretty much different from those in your country, have influenced your designs?
Working in the Mediterranean (Sardinia) was a fantastic and increased my knowledge of sun and heat loving plants, many of which are already cultivated in the UK. With climate change and water shortages a reality and an ongoing issue using plants that suit the climate saves on energy use and conserves natural resources and sustainability is definitely the way we should all be heading. Working in Moscow was the opposite extreme as the plant pallet is very limited with the extreme cold and snow but there are a few of my old favourites like oak and silver birch trees, hydrangea and Lilac shrubs that do well there.
How do you start designing your gardens? Are the clients giving you any guidelines or they leave you acting guided by your own inspiration and personal taste?
The design starts with the house and existing garden or landscape and then is a marriage of the client’s wishes and wants and my ideas. They have usually come to me because they have seen other gardens I’ve worked on and loved. All my designs are in 3D so the client really gets to understand what I am trying to achieve before a spade is lifted.
What is your best garden and why?
I am always striving for excellence and there are three country gardens I’m most proud of and a couple in London. One is a very private 15 acre garden I created in Surrey that I spent a year working on. It is very well maintained and looks sensational, another is for a grade one listed hall in Norfolk and another a contemporary garden in Wentworth. They are all on my website and my Instagram feed so please have a look!
Hedges, terraces, walls, fruit, vegetables, herbs, lawns, flowers, a pond and other water, an orchard but above all seclusion, mystery and romance.
After your work is all done, there is always the maintenance. Does your company also do this?
We advise and recommend a full time gardener of company but focus on the design and implementation of new gardens.