Harry and David Rich are often referred to as enfants terribles of the great outdoors. The Rich Brothers garden design enterprise was set up by Harry and David Rich in 2013 following landscape architecture studies, and the duo have since worked on gardens all over London and abroad, successfully taken part in the Chelsea Flower show and even collaborated with Chanel on a special garden inspired by Coco Chanel.

The Rich Brothers’ garden design features a fusion between landscape, greenery and architecture, based on a close relationship with the outdoors to inspire people to enjoy their gardens and outdoors spaces. The latest venture for the pair is a more intimate garden project, featuring their signature approach to gardening in a personal dimension.

The Rich Brothers design their own garden in Wales

Garden design by The Rich Brothers
The Rich Brothers’ Wales garden featuring Allium ursinum, or wild garlic

‘Ty Gardd’ (Welsh for garden house) is the Rich Brothers’ personal garden project, started in February 2021 at Harry’s own home in Wales. ‘Ty Gardd is a diary of our process that will no doubt become a lifetime of work, and one that we will undertake together,’ the pair shared on Instagram.

The project, the brothers say, will touch upon their ongoing wider research surrounding garden design, including using plant species that can control the environment. Documented through an online visual journal, the process will include design, plant and material selection and sustainability in garden design. ‘Our first real experience of the garden was in December 2017. The sun hid behind the hill, nowhere to be seen, and the garden fell still. Another month, and it appears again, casting a beautiful light through the trees and a warmth to the soil,’ the inaugural entry of the brothers’ garden diary reads. They poetically list the plants originally in the garden, from a Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ (witch hazel), known as the winter jewel, to an ‘unmanaged but healthy’ wisteria growing on one side of the house.

‘Ty Gardd is a diary of our process that will no doubt become a lifetime of work, and one that we will undertake together’

They admit to having a relaxed approach to this project, and the design will evolve during their time experiencing the garden, with procrastination being a ‘key ingredient’. The garden design process is purposely slow, the pair say, to allow them to fully understand the place and experience it through the seasons. 

An unruly wisteria plant in the Rich Brothers garden in Wales
Harry and Sue Rich outside the house in Wales, whose external wall is covered by an ‘unmanaged but healthy’ wisteria

The garden features a small stream, that the designers imagine having played a central role in the house’s past lives. ‘It currently lies hidden away from view, the slope suppressing its connection to the garden,’ they write. ‘We are excited to reconnect it, sculpting the land to reveal its presence. It’s exciting to have so much variety within the garden, each layer adding interest and diversity.’ Another important element of the garden design is the surrounding woodland, which their new outdoor space will complement.

The latest focus for the pair as they progress their work on the garden is the secluded courtyard, a forgotten area that, they say, ‘evokes excitement and anticipation’. It is a more controlled, shaded area of the garden, the duo explain, separated by yew hedging (eventually trimmed to an organic shape) and featuring a geometric layout with topiary, planting beds and paths. ‘We want this part of the garden to feel unique, to home some of our favourite plants and new combinations that we are eager to try,’ they say. 

A pencil sketch of a house and garden by the Rich Brothers in Wales, UK
An early sketch for the Rich Brothers’ garden design in Wales

‘We love formality; the strong lines of topiary, pleached trees and stone walls provide the garden with fairness and balance but, without its opposite, can feel a little too regular,’ they mentioned as they shared the garden’s initial plans. ‘Cobbled paths diffuse into the lawn, soft undulating landforms and rambling roses spill out from trees. It’s a garden of conflict but hopefully one that sits well.’ §