Founded in 1985 by Michael and Beverley Lear, Lear Associates Limited is a client focused practice working in landscape design, green infrastructure provision, and the conservation of plant collections in heritage parks and gardens. We are a small, experienced team providing a personalised response to a range of landscape problems and opportunities. We are committed to the enhancement of people’s lives through access to the natural environment.
Drawing from our wide skills base as chartered landscape architects, and qualifications in art and architectural history, social anthropology, ecology, forestry, and arboriculture, we have extensive experience working for government agencies, local councils, trusts, and private clients. We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with other professionals and run regular training workshops for staff and volunteers at several our project sites.
Lear Associates is a limited company working throughout Britain and Ireland with offices in Oxford, and Northern Ireland.
Beverley Lear, Michael Lear & Fiona Paramor
What We Do
We design, survey, make, embellish, interpret, and restore all sorts of parks, arboreta, civic green spaces, private and public gardens. Our practice philosophy is based on establishing a thorough knowledge of a site through survey and research. This is followed by a bespoke site response which delivers a sense of ownership, empowerment, and pleasure for others.
We are leaders in the survey and analysis of historic plant collections, completing work for the National Trust, English Heritage, and local councils for the purposes of conservation assessments and restoration works. We specialise in the survey of exotic tree collections, tree aging, and identification of ornamental shrubs including heritage Rhododendrons. Our analytical approach is archaeological in its dual emphasis on the material evidence and archive resources. We use GPS survey technologies to generate digital survey maps and carry out tagging and labelling of complex plant collections.
Whilst we respect existing landscapes and gardens, there are times when a fresh rethink and new design can radically improve the nature of a garden space. We have completed new large-scale public landscapes including the world’s largest hedge maze; new institutional gardens at St. John’s College Oxford; and a variety of differently styled gardens for private clients, including rose gardens, potagers, lakes, ponds and new parks, avenues and arboreta.
David Lambert, Hon.Michael McLaren & Beverley Lear working on Bodnant CMP
Our woody plant surveys form the basis for our curatorial service and the preparation of interpretation materials for a wider audience. We have published illustrated plant catalogues and garden guides for several clients under our imprint ‘OxPress’. We also provide support and training for site staff wishing to maintain and update our cataloguing system.
A strategic approach which brings together site knowledge and design opportunities to address evolving client needs. We are often asked to work collaboratively in partnership with other professionals to develop long term plans and documentation which allows for phasing according to funding packages and other resources. Lear Associates have successfully provided masterplanning services for urban developments at Truro, for the University of Bristol, and for several Oxford and Cambridge University Colleges.
Lear Associates provide a full spectrum of technical surveys and documentation including arboricultural surveys, visual impact assessments, design and setting- out plans, historical map and LiDAR overlays, full planning applications etc. We have been widely praised for the clarity of our graphic presentations and map work.