Dan Pearson (born 9 April 1964) is an English garden designer, landscape designer, journalist and television presenter. He is an expert in naturalistic perennial planting.
Pearson was brought up in an Arts and Crafts house on the Hampshire-Sussex border. His father is a painter who taught fine art at Portsmouth Polytechnic and his mother taught fashion and textiles at Winchester School of Art.
He had a weekend gardening job for Mrs. Pumphrey at Greatham Mill Gardens, Hampshire that cultivated his interest in gardening. He decided against going to Art College, and dropped out of his A levels (backed by his parents) to be able to go to the RHS Garden, Wisley, at 17. During 1981–1983, he became an RHS Wisley Trainee, Certificate Course, aged 17. While at Wisley his mother introduced him to Frances Mossman, for whom he designed a garden. Dan then went to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for a year to work in the Rock Garden and the Woodland Garden. Pearson then completed the three-year Kew Gardens course. Then he went back to maintaining Frances Mossman’s garden – Home Farm in Northampton. He also had student scholarships to study wildflower communities in the Picos de Europa, Spain, and in the Himalayas.
Pearson then set up his Garden Design business in 1987.
Since 2002, he has been designing a number of gardens as well as giving lectures around the world, including the U.K., Italy, the U.S.A. and Japan.
He has designed gardens for Jonathan Ive, Paul Smith art dealer Ivor Braka, Russian businessman Vladislav Doronin. Carlo Caracciolo (the late owner of the Italian newspaper l’Espresso) and his colleague on The Guardian newspaper, Nigel Slater (this garden was a joint effort with Monty Don). He has also restored the landscape at Althorp House (post Diana’s death) post 1997 and worked on the landscape for the Millennium Dome. Dan has now done five show gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 (with an outstandling roof garden), and 2004 (for Merrill Lynch). He has also worked at the Botanic Garden of Jerusalem. He designed the Roof Garden of Roppongi Hills, Japan in 2002.
Pearson is a tree ambassador for The Tree Council and a member of the Society of Garden Designers. In 2011, he was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was a member of the jury for the 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize.
He has a working relationships with some of the most known architects practising in the UK including Zaha Hadid, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, David Chipperfield Architects and 6a Architects, London, which led to Pearson being elected Royal Designer for Industry in 2012.
At the Garden Media Guild Awards of 2011, he was awarded the prize for ‘Inspirational Book of the Year’.
Another large project was the Tokachi Millenium Forest Garden, in Shimizu, Hokkaido, which was featured on BBC Radio 4 programme Designed in Britain, Built in Japan. Another project is Maggie’s Centre in Charing Cross, London.
The Garden Museum in Lambeth, London held an exhibition on his work, between 23 May 2013 to October 2013. Pearson has created a new planting design for the border in front of the Museum.
He is also working as horticultural advisor for Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge, over the Thames in London.
Pearson has presented and appeared in several TV series on BBC2, Channel 4 and Channel 5. In 1992, he presented the first garden makeover programme, Garden Doctors. A book of the same name later followed the series. He presented Dan Pearson: Routes around the World on Channel 4, a six-part travel and horticultural series, by Flashback Productions, in 1997.
In 2008, the BBC filmed a 12-part series, A Year At Home Farm, in Northampton, which Dan had been designing the gardens for since 1987. A book later followed the series.
He appears occasionally on BBC’s Gardeners’ World, and also regularly talks on radio.
Pearson has written for such newspapers as The Guardian, The Telegraph (during 2003-2006), and The Sunday Times on the subject of landscaping and home gardening. He has been the garden columnist for the The Observer Magazine since 2006. He sits on the editorial board of Gardens Illustrated magazine. His writing also includes Gardeners’ World magazine, and various magazine and newspaper articles.
- Pearson, Dan (1996). Garden Doctors (A Channel Four book). Boxtree Press Ltd. ISBN978-0752210292.
Co-authored with Steve Bradley
- Pearson, Dan (27 Feb 1998). ‘The Essential Garden Book’. Conran Octopus Ltd. ISBN978-1850299196.
Co-authored with Sir Terence Conran
- Pearson, Dan (4 Jan 2001). The Garden: A Year at Home Farm. Ebury Press. ISBN978-0091870324.
- Pearson, Dan (28 September 2009 (hardback) 3 October 2011 (softback)). Spirit: Garden Inspiration. FUEL. ISBN978-0956356291.
Introduction by Beth Chatto
- Pearson, Dan (7 March 2011). Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City. Conran Octopus. ISBN978-1840915372.
Pearson has a brother called Luke, who is a product and furniture designer, and a partner in the company ‘Pearsonlloyd’.
In 2010, he moved from Peckham in London to a property with 20 acres of land in Somerset.
For the 2015 show, Laurent-Perrier and Chatsworth have come together to create a unique show garden, marking Chatsworth’s debut at Chelsea. The garden will showcase a shared heritage in gardens and nature, and family dwellings in beautiful grounds.
Taking the prominent ‘triangle’ position, which can be viewed from all three sides, Dan Pearson (retuning to RHS Chelsea Flower Show after more than a decade) has created a representation of a small – less trodden – part of the 105 acre Chatsworth Garden. In line with Pearson’s passion for naturalism and the wilder side of gardening, the exhibit is inspired by Chatsworth’s ornamental Trout Stream and Paxton’s rockery. Planting reflects the lightness, freshness and delicacy of the 200-year old family owned Champagne House.