When garden designer, Laura Bedell-Pearce, moved to Reigate from London with her husband to start a family, she found herself with a “proper garden” for the first time in her life and it sowed the seeds of change. “Initially I spent 16 years working in marketing, mainly in London, but when I wanted to spend more time talking gardens than marketing, I knew it was time to swap careers.”
“I love traditional English, cottage, and contemporary gardens,” she says. “I really try to encourage biodiversity for our wildlife, and for the soil. We have to work with climate change and be aware of our impact on nature so the garden can be sustainable. It’s an investment; a living one.”
Soon, friends were asking her to design their outdoor spaces and the business began to bloom. But it wasn’t just that Reigate gave Laura the opportunity to create a new career, it also gave her the support that helps a young family thrive. “When we were house hunting, we looked at Guildford too,” she says. “But in Reigate the residents had closed the street off so the kids could play safely, and they started talking to us as we left the viewing! We bought the house, and when we moved in the support and camaraderie was amazing, like something out of the nineteen fifties.”
Since switching to garden design in 2016 Laura has built up an incredible team of hard landscapers, surveyors, tree surgeons, nursery suppliers and assistants. “I don’t have one style and I like to listen attentively and work with a client to get what they really want. Naturally, we talk about budget, and timescale, and because gardens don’t have to be made all at once, the cost can be phased over time.”
After a garden is completed, Laura’s gardening assistants – or the owners of the property – take over the maintenance. With guidance from a monthly email containing photos of the plants that need attention, even a novice gardener can care for their green room. This keeps their investment beautiful and gives them joy, relaxation, and recovery space. With the increase in time spent at home this year, more people than ever are looking to maximise the space and beauty of their gardens. In addition to the usual patios and planting, popular requests include garden offices, fire pits and outdoor kitchens.
To help with budgeting and planning a garden makeover, click here for Laura’s free guide: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Garden Makeover’. “Rather like planning for a wedding, if you can start at least a year in advance you’re going to get the best results. And having a masterplan for the whole garden helps to get the project done efficiently with a coherent overall design.”