Opendoorz Director, Sonia Kearns, explores the ‘buzz’ she gets when Opendoorz members form long-lasting, fruitful collaborations!
Joined the Opendoorz gang in Feb ’22
Helen believes in the restorative power of plants, gardens and landscapes. She loves cycling with husband at home and abroad (coffee stops essential), is inspired by her two ‘kids’ who have almost left home, and values time laughing with friends and family.
Surely everyone feels the benefit from time spent in a beautiful, sustainable and biodiverse garden? Unfortunately, Helen now spends far too little time in her own!
Moving on from being an in-house solicitor at Sky and then managing her self-build barn conversion, she took the plunge to retrain in 2011, launching her own business in 2016 with honours degree in garden design, RHS horticultural diploma and a whirlwind Chelsea garden experience under her belt.
Since then, she has undertaken a wide range of projects, large and small and across a range of budgets: from school gardening projects, small town gardens, large garden schemes for new rural houses and extensions. All her work so far has come through personal recommendations of clients, architects and landscapers.
There is a special joy in being able to bring out the potential in a garden to meet what a client is looking for, especially hearing clients get excited about aspects beyond the original brief. However, she misses being part of a team on a day-to-day basis that her previous career offered and really values proper collaborations with clients and other professionals on projects.
Nothing annoys Helen more than ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it’ comments (although leaf blowers come close). ‘Every day’s a school day’ more like, as we need to look after our special planet in practice not just words. The brilliant thing is that gardens are great places to be innovative in, hold many a solution to a house’s ‘issues’ and where small changes can literally create a happy ‘buzz’ that wasn’t there before.
If you’d like an icebreaker for Helen (that avoids a leafblower rant), ask her about ‘Rain Gardens’…