Sustainable Garden Designers

Caitlin and Tessa McLaughlin are sisters and partners in Thrift Landscapes, a garden design business with a commitment to sustainability and the re-use of materials. They have complementary skills: while Tessa liaises with suppliers and works on the accounting side, Caitlin focuses on design and planting.

Caitlin’s background in plant genetics has lead the pair to an interest to creating gardens involving plants that are related or which occur together in nature, a strategy that improves the biodiversity of both the animals that visit their gardens and the soil itself.

The sisters cite as one of their influences the work of Piet Oudolf, whose work on the New York High Line (2006) brought together his fondness for use of perennials and native species to create a lasting and sustainable garden design.

Like Piet Oudolf, Caitlin and Tessa McLaughlin have recently been involved in a transport related project- the New Forms Gardens in an underpass at London Bridge Station. Reusing materials from the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival, the New Forms Gardens highlight sustainable approaches to design, showing how hard landscaping materials can find innovative upcycled afterlives, and how plants can be used in unusual urban locations.

At the end of the project the materials and plants will find new afterlives in local community projects. The sisters partnered with building materials company Travis Perkins who provided the re-used materials, showing that garden design can adopt the same strategies of re-use and upcycling that individuals are using to reduce their impact on the planet.

You can find out more about Caitlin and Tessa at

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