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Kiwi's lockdown leap of faith with Ross-shire business repaid thanks to growing interest in gardens during coronavirus crisis

By Hector MacKenzie

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Rhys Morgan: Kept busy.
Rhys Morgan: Kept busy.

A growing appreciation of the value of gardens during coronavirus lockdown prompted a landscaper to take the plunge to start up on his own.

Strathpeffer-based Rhys Morgan is a long way from his native New Zealand, but is putting down roots in Ross-shire thanks to a rapidly filling order book from people looking at their gardens with a fresh eye after time working from home or on furlough.

Mr Morgan (38) moved from North Island to Edinburgh seven years ago to play rugby, before developing his craft in paving, fencing and hard landscaping.

During the first lockdown he started to put a business plan together, moving north to Strathpeffer with his fiancée and setting up Kiwiscapes

He said: “I love it up here. The Highlands is very similar visually to New Zealand, so it feels like a home from home. When people were confined to their homes for most of the day, those who were lucky enough to have a garden soon realised the value of having an outdoor space, and I started to think more about the different ways that I could help people make use of that.

“Whether it’s working from home, creating a place to socialise at a safe distance, or to grow your own food, gardens are highly versatile spaces, and can be adapted to whatever suits a homeowner’s needs. I’m looking forward to helping people turn those ideas into a reality.”

He said the phone had been “red hot”.

He said: “People are seeing their gardens almost like another room, and are definitely valuing them more. I ask questions, listen to what they want and make suggestions. Nine times out of 10 people say the result is better than they imagined and for me that is just unbelievably satisfying to hear.”

Related: Black Isle artist's lockdown portraits through the window put locals in the frame

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