Petersham Nurseries: Their retail concept and why it works so well

If you haven't been to Petersham Nurseries in Richmond then we strongly suggest you plan a visit ASAP. We had our first visit to the luxury concept garden centre this week and were so impressed that we had to share it with you. Everyone we have spoken to loves this store and they have certainly excelled in their mission to 'create a place of calm, away from the bustle of London, somewhere that respects and is in tune with nature and positive living.' Below I analyse exactly how Petersham Nurseries have created their internationally acclaimed store and how you can adapt these ideas for your own business.


The design and concept of the store play heavily on the brands heritage. The garden centre was opened in 1970 and has occupied the site ever since, however the centre was only renovated to its current concept in 2004. The style of the centre is rustic, overgrown and antique leading you to feel that the centre has flourished since the dawn of time. The appearance of being established builds trust, they're not going to pack up and dissapear overnight and the fact they have lasted so long means they clearly know what they're doing. Visually the centre looks well worn in, the product mix features antique, rusty and heritage style items. This is not a shiny new plastic kind of place. Heritage and Nostalgia are so important for visual merchandising, connecting people to a place, experience or time that they feel comfortable and familiar with will make them feel comfortable and familiar with YOU.


Every single fixture in the store is different without a one-size fits all flat pack fixture in site. A beautiful example of un-consistent consistency. A mish mash of antiques, purpose built reclaimed pieces and upcycled treasures. Each fixture seems to have been created specifically for the products it holds and Petersham Nurseries CARE enough to have done that. To the untrained eye this may look like it has been thrown together and just happened to work, when really this kind of concept is much harder to create than a brand new shiny store. Nothing is by chance and everything is highly considered. The beauty here is that each unique, one-off fixture has something in common. It is made from either wood or metal and looks antique.

Magic factor

In our previous post about killer window displays we discussed the MAGIC FACTOR and we are happy to have found the most perfect example in Petersham Nurseries. The whole site is filled with overgrown trees bursting through buildings and wrapping around fixtures. The home & interiors green house has a winding staircase that leads to nowhere and trees are literally growing out of the dirt floor and through the roof. It's weird. It's magical. It's kind of like being in an abandoned house in the middle of the amazonian rainforest. Most importantly it's UNEXPECTED. The store isn't shoving every last inch of its store with stock. They have allocated the majority of space to floral displays and nature, just because. It's a bit like a disney store for adults and that's what you need to create in your own store: magic.


Not only is Petersham Nurseries a feast for the eyes... they care. About the environment, their surroundings and nature as a whole. Now I am sure they genuinely do care, but on a retail level this is very clever. We all want to save the environment don't we? Why would you pop to the local corporate garden centre when you can pop down to Petersham Nurseries who care about the environment just as much as you do? Around the centre are posters detailing how the store has tried to compliment nature rather than compete with it for it's store design. Posters encouraging customers to take public transport or even take a stroll along the river when they next visit. Petersham Nurseries

have personality, we can understand what they are all about and feel like they're not just here to take our money. And when we're on our way home we feel like eco warriors who have done their good deed for the day just by visiting and being part of it. What is your business really all about and how can you connect with customers on a personal level?

Location Now we are not all lucky enough to have our pick of location, or to be able to afford our dream locations for that matter. For Petersham Nurseries location is a big part of their appeal, customers feel like the centre is their little secret. No big signs, no flashing lights, I actually drove past it three times. When I finally saw the logo and arrow discretely painted onto the side of a building and pointing down a small country lane I thought it was leading me to Narnia. The centre is hidden away from the hustle and bustle, although practically opposite Richmond Park and off a busy road you just would not know it was there. I actually came across them on Instagram and can honestly say I would be happy to drive the 2 hour round trip from St Albans to visit them again. Now that's how you know you're business is doing something right.

You can see even more pictures of this inspirational store over on our Facebook now or head straight over to Petersham Nurseries website to plan your visit, all in the name of retail research of course.

Interested in creating your own destination concept store? Get in touch with us to make it happen on 07722 634 112 or

Featured Posts
Recent Posts