Growing up in rural Cambridgeshire, Mike discovered his passion for gardening at an early age. A gifted student and athlete, he won a scholarship to Cambridge and qualified for Junior Wimbledon. The outbreak of World War II interrupted his education and, having joined the RAF, Mike’s courage in combat was recognised with the award of a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for service with the Pathfinders.
After the war Mike became a Classics master, enjoying a successful career that culminated at St Paul’s, Hammersmith in 1982. However, retirement proved to be no such thing; pursuing his lifelong hobby of gardening, Mike found his skills in such demand that he started a new career, launching into business as Mike Bayon Garden Design. As he says: “No – I didn’t plan it. It just happened. But it proves there’s life after retirement!”
Andy joined Mike Bayon Garden Design full time in February 1983, became a partner in 1985 and, in 1991, took over the business in partnership with Roger Lang. After studying English and Art History at UEA and Goldsmiths, London, Andy was “footling around with no real idea of what I wanted to do” when an old school friend called: “He told me about how he was working as a landscaper for this eccentric guy Mike Bayon and there was a vacancy – you had to work really hard, but it was great fun.”
After taking a degree in Philosophy and Politics at UEA, Roger gave in to wanderlust and saddled up his bike for a cycle ride – to Athens! Returning eventually to the UK, he got in touch with his fellow ex-UEA student Andy Gardiner, who was working for Mike Bayon and “absolutely loving it”. Roger promptly put his future travel plans on hold to join Andy and experience the unique Mike Bayon gardening apprenticeship. “I was taken on to do the maintenance gardening. It was a real, hands-on learning experience and I picked it up fast in the best way: making elementary mistakes and learning from them.”
“Flair, wit and knowledge remain the distinctive trademarks
of the company”
Mike Bayon Garden Design was founded in 1982 and operates from a tiny head office in Church Road, known locally as ‘the smallest shop in Barnes’. Its charismatic founder, Mike Bayon, is a life-long gardener who, after retirement from his first career in teaching, enjoyed being able to indulge his passion by helping friends and neighbours with their gardens. However, word quickly spread of his flair for garden design and immense knowledge of indigenous and exotic plants. Mike was soon in such demand that he decided to set up his own company and take on a permanent team, including today’s partners, Andy Gardiner and Roger Lang.
Within a few years Mike Bayon Garden Design had evolved into a thriving business, winning major commissions at home and abroad. By the late 1980s, the team was creating a three-acre garden in the South of France for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, designing an English cottage garden in Wiltshire for Lord Puttnam and transforming a town roof garden in Belgravia for Sir Yehudi Menuhin. The company won awards and exhibited at both the Hampton Court and Chelsea Flower Shows and its work was featured on television and radio and in the national press, including The Observer, Sunday Times Magazine, Homes & Gardens and Harpers & Queen.
Now under the leadership of Andy and Roger, Mike Bayon Garden Design has passed its 30-year anniversary with an extensive portfolio of garden triumphs and clients ranging from well-known personalities and large businesses to, of course, private individuals. These include a huge number who ask for help whenever further work is required in their garden or when they want to create a fresh design for a new or second home.
Whatever the scale or nature of the job, our approach remains the same: a commitment to making unique gardens that we are proud of and that clients enjoy.
The flair, wit and knowledge of the three men who have shaped Mike Bayon Garden Design remain the distinctive trademarks of the company. It offers a totally professional, friendly and characterful service and is proud that 95% of its clients come from personal referrals and recommendations.