WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Caitlin McLaughlin: My background is in plant genetic conservation, and having a love of plants and horticulture helped me develop from the science of plants to garden design. Design was always a hobby for me but when I was 26 I decided to be brave and have a career change, and turn my hobby into my livelihood.
Tessa McLaughlin: Having grown up surrounded by fields, gardens, and horticulture it became a fantastic opportunity to establish Thrift Landscapes with Caitlin. We are a complementary pairing, as I am able to liaise with suppliers and work on the accounts side of the business, and Caitlin can focus on the design and planting.
Tessa: I graduated in 2014 from the University of Liverpool with a BA(Hons) in Social and Economic History, followed by a PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University in 2016.
Caitlin: I studied both my undergraduate and Masters in Research at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 2012, and specialized in Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources, specifically plants related to our commonly grown food crops. When I changed careers to garden design, I taught myself along the way and have been continually learning ever since.
Visiting gardens is one of the main ways to spend a day out. In Northamptonshire, we love visiting Coton Manor and Castle Ashby Gardens. The latter is a Capability Brown garden, and we have found his work really inspiring along our design journey, especially having visited this garden regularly through the seasons from childhood. There are so many designers who have influenced us, including Nigel Dunnett, Dan Pearson, and Piet Oudolf.
As my background is the genetics of plants, rather than the overall design of a space, this definitely influences our work. I like to use plants that are related, or naturally found co-exiting together in the wild, as these relationships already occur: who am I to fight nature? “Right plant, right place” is definitely a philosophy we follow, and we also like to keep things quite simple with the layout and hard landscaping. Clean lines juxtaposed with a floaty natural-looking planting is something you will see in a lot of our work. We aim to select materials that fit within the space and complement the house, with planting that knits together the different sections of the garden and attracts wildlife.
Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine founded in 1920. Its principal subject is interior design, rather than architecture more generally. The magazine is published by Condé Nast, which also publishes international editions of Architectural Digest in China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.