Landscaping his future
by Corey Rosser
In the space of 12 months Richard Boobyer has gone from studying in classes with sometimes only 10 people to having his every move watched by hundreds of thousands on national television.
Born in Hamilton, Richard spent his childhood in Matamata, before studying to be a chef in Tauranga upon leaving school.
After finishing his course, and with many of his friends heading to Hamilton to study, a move back to his place of birth beckoned, where he worked in the hospitality industry for five years.
Though enjoying his time as a chef Richard was not content with spending the rest of his days slaving over a hot stove, and made the decision to re-train at the Wintec City Campus, studying towards a Diploma in Technology (Landscape Design).
"It's been a good course to teach you what you need to know… you started off just drawing pictures and then get into doing the plans, going from how to do client consultations through to designing and presenting it."
After graduating with his diploma at the start of this year, Richard and partner Sarah Adams applied to be a part of hit TV show The Block, which was making its debut on New Zealand screens. "Me and the missus just applied over the internet, we saw an ad on TV and thought 'sweet we could do that.'"
Several detailed interview processes followed, with confirmation they had made the cut only received when the show's host Mark Richardson showed up at the front door flanked by a TV crew ready to shoot the first episode."We didn't know much at all at the start, we went up to Auckland and did all the promo stuff for TV3, magazines and billboards for the whole week…it (the house) was basically a two minute walk from central Takapuna, it was a wicked spot."
In the end Richard and Sarah finished second, losing the series finale which aired live on TV3. It wasn't all bad news however, with their DIY project selling for $870,000 at auction, the couple got to keep $64,000 worth of funds which they plan to use as a deposit on their own home eventually.
The exposure Richard gained from the show is now also paying dividends as he starts to build his own landscaping business, Richard Landscape Concepts.
After launching the business at the Waikato Home and Garden Show earlier this year with a garden installation and design display, Richard won the people's choice award and a silver medal.
"It (being on the show) definitely pushed my career ahead faster…the exposure we got was huge, that's kind of why I pushed starting the business early, the home show came up only a couple of weeks after we finished so I jumped on that bandwagon. People would relate me from the block to the home show and I have got heaps of work from it."
While travelling the world is definitely on the long term agenda for Richard and Sarah he is content with putting all of his energy for the time being into growing the business.
"I'm focusing on everything really with the design and install of landscapes, it's a fairly modern style that I want to produce, I think that's what a lot of people are looking for these days, clean and modern and simple… It's pretty full on at the start because I am doing it by myself."
Looking to the future Richard says that after 10 weeks of having his every move watched on national television a future combining television and his passion for landscaping does appeal.
"The start was a little bit weird, you wake up in the morning and there are cameras, you go to bed at night and there are cameras, and then you have to film yourself… [but a TV show in the future] would be pretty cool, I'd be pretty into doing something because… a lot of people say 'oh we love landscaping and we love new ideas' but there is nothing really on TV, so there's definitely a spot for that sort of thing involving landscape design."