Archie Trembath has journeyed down many paths in her life, but it was the darkest path that led her to a garden of light. After a battle with depression, Archie bought her soul back to life with the help of nature, now she’s known for bringing life to thriving gardens.

The budding landscape designer works for Espaso Verde, which means ‘green space’ in Portuguese, a landscape design company based in the Hawkes Bay – she opened the Hamilton branch based in our coworking space at Soda Inc.

Archie was born in Fiji, but grew up in the States.

“I’ve lived in three countries, Fiji, America and New Zealand, I have spent a third of my life in each country.

“People always ask me where I’m from and I never know what to say because I’m equally from each place,” she laughed.

Archie has explored many career paths since she left high school.

She started out working in tourism for five years, at an I-Site selling accommodation.

“I really liked the customer aspect of the job, but I wasn’t huge on sales. After that, because I loved people so much, I thought maybe I should study something that involves people,” she said.

This led her to study social work. She did a social service certificate at Wintec and then started a degree in social work and was working as a support person part time with elderly people, which she loved.

“But, I’m a really empathetic person and some stuff happened and it led me down the path of depression and I had a really hard time.

“I realised that if I wanted to get into that industry, I would need to toughen up and have a really hard shell and I discovered it wasn’t the right path for me either,” she said.

Archie then went down another path working in retail while going through a personal battle, that’s when she met her now husband, Nathan. He introduced her to plants and a different way of looking at the world.

“Growing up, in my culture, we never really went camping or went outdoors to do lots of things. We were more into family-time indoors.

“Nathan introduced me to the outdoor world, learning to stop and smell the roses, and I just fell in love with nature and plants. It helped me find my happiness.”

At that time, Archie was trying to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life and because she was getting into nature and she’d always been a little bit arty she was trying to think how she could combine those two things that she really loved.

Nathan had just previously finished doing his horticulture certificate and so she thought maybe she should look at doing something similar.

She chose the garden path to landscape design.

“It was so awesome, it was the perfect thing for me. Being surrounded by gardens every day was incredible.

“While I studied that at Wintec my class took part in a team project for the Hamilton Home and Garden Show. We all designed our own gardens and our tutor took parts of each garden and made it one. We had 10 days to create a 3m by 6 m courtyard area. Our theme was a contemporary Japanese/native garden.

“It was such a cool project, none of us had ever done anything like that before. We won gold and peoples choice which was epic and it helped us network for jobs.

“The company I work for now, Espaso Verde, rang Wintec just as I was finishing up my diploma and asked if they had any new grads looking for work and I got recommended for the job and got it straight away.”

Espaso Verde is an award winning landscape design company operated by Charlotte and Jason Pedersen.

They have been operating in Hawke’s Bay for 12 years and recently won The Landscaper of the Year Award at the Creative Gardens Expo.

They are passionate about bringing creative and functional gardens to life with a sense of style and atmosphere, while considering the style architecture and its surrounding environment.

Charlotte is Espaso Verde’s principal designer, while Jason is the project coordinator. He and Charlotte have worked together at Espaso Verde and have owned the business since 2008. In that time they have combined their skills and knowledge to create beautiful gardens that give their clients ongoing pride and enjoyment.

Espaso Verde pride themselves on doing things properly. Their point of difference is they guarantee all their work whilst taking into consideration each customer as an individual and making sure their needs are meet with a high standard of workmanship and ease.

Each project the company tackles has at least three designers working on it to be sure there is more than just one thought process. It’s a team based company.

Those values matched with Archie’s, so she moved down to Hawkes Bay with Nathan to start her new career. The pair lived and worked there for a year before her parents said they needed her help back in Hamilton.

“Family is the most important thing to me so I had to leave.

“My managers really didn’t want me to go and I was equally as sad because I loved working for them and I loved my job. So, they made a position and opened up a branch for me in Hamilton.

“Initially, it was a work from home kind of deal, I did that for 11 months in 2017. The first 6 months was great, it was really productive, but then I started noticing and so did my manager that I didn’t have a good balance happening. I was either constantly working or easily getting distracted.”

Her manager came up to Hamilton to help find her an office space. Together, they googled coworking spaces in Hamilton and Soda was one of them.

“My manager did a tour and loved it. She told me to come and check it out and I loved it too. I did my trial day in the spot where I still sit now.”

When Archie started working for Espaso Verde they were a team of five, now there are 12.

One of Archie’s favourite gardens she has worked on so far was at the Hawkes Bay Hospital.

“We worked on the garden at the paediatric centre. When we first went there to look, they simply had a lawn, a picnic table and a tree. It was a bit sad, we wanted to create something really amazing, and more culturally appropriate. It was really cool to see that come together for the children.

Now she is based in the Waikato, she has four clients in Hamilton, but the majority are still in the Hawkes Bay.

“I’m definitely keen to get into the Waikato market and, while we specialise in residential and commercial design, we are looking into helping out with farm and conservation revegetation design in and around the Waikato region.

“We have a couple of clients who are farmers here already, which is great.”

Archie said she loves the Soda coworking space, partly because she loves the Wintec House Building itself.

“I love the building, it’s old and beautiful. I love the views out, it’s nice to enjoy the sun coming in through the huge windows. And I love the Soda staff, they’re so easy to deal with and they make everything easy.

“And the people that are here are awesome, it’s great to be able to talk to other people, you can’t do that when you work from home!”