Our design philosophy is threefold Create beautyWhat is the elusive quality that makes certain spaces so compelling? Every design must respond to a series of practical constraints, yet truly inspired landscapes move beyond function to engage with us on a much deeper level. Landscape design is first and foremost a visual art form governed by universal design principles such as balance, proportion, and unity. These concepts provide a framework for the exploration of each landscape’s unique artistic potential. We begin with a careful analysis of the fundamental character of each site within the context of existing architecture, historical connections and the surrounding environment. These observations lead to the development of an overall design concept that informs each step of the decision-making process. This ‘design-driven’ approach ensures unified, visually harmonious outcomes that seamlessly incorporate pragmatic solutions and aesthetic appeal.
Restore ecological balanceHuman activity and development have irrevocably altered our surrounding landscapes. Although it is not possible to restore the built environment to its undisturbed state, regenerative landscape design can profoundly impact a site’s capacity to support life, preserve natural resources and benefit surrounding ecosystems. We approach each new project as an opportunity to align with existing conditions rather than work against them. By mimicking native plant habitats, implementing storm water management techniques, and taking advantage of local materials, we strive to regenerate healthy landscapes that address today’s challenges and manifest change long into the future. This unique opportunity to collaborate with nature as each garden evolves into its own self-sustaining system is truly one of the most dynamic and rewarding aspects of our work. Facilitate reconnection between people and nature In addition to adverse environmental impact, our modern culture leaves many people largely detached from the natural world. “Nature Deficit Disorder”, a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his seminal book Last Child in the Woods, describes this disconnection and its pervasive effects on our physical and psychological well-being. While humans have long sought refuge in conventional gardens, these spaces may offer little sanctuary for local wildlife. By restoring native plant communities, eliminating toxic inputs and creating appropriate habitat, gardens literally erupt with life. From the endless fascination of quiet observation to the invigorating thrill of active exploration, we strive to provide our clients with individualized opportunities to re-experience nature in ways that are most meaningful to them. We are continually humbled by the healing power of gardens to transform everyday life experience.
Regenerative Methods While each of our designs is intensely individual, every project employs fundamental best management practices that seek to conserve existing resources, protect the environment and maximize wildlife opportunities. Whenever possible we choose low impact solutions that prevent soil compaction and erosion, reduce non-point source pollution, and minimize the use of non-renewable resources.
All of our designs feature strategies to capture and infiltrate rainwater such as French drains or pop-up emitters, rain barrels & chains, cisterns, rain gardens, and pervious surfaces.
In addition to creatively recycling existing materials, we delight in the hunt for unique, eco-friendly local materials to unify and punctuate each space.
By closely studying how plants site themselves in their natural habitats, we seek to recreate the multi-season appeal and subtle beauty of native plant communities in the wild. In addition, these plant communities provide the wildlife habitat and genetic diversity essential for the support of healthy ecosystems.
Our “plant-centric” designs feature native plants of local provenance. These are plants propagated from sources within our specific geographical region. This distinction is important for several reasons. First and foremost, our gardens simply grow better! Because local ecotype plants are best adapted to existing soil, precipitation rates and climate, they tend to thrive with less man-made inputs and less maintenance. In addition, these plants support the widest array of local pollinators and other wildlife while preserving the natural variability of individual species.
Unfortunately, locally native plants are still not widely available. To source these plants, we have cultivated close relationships with several reputable growers and small, specialty nurseries. As an added bonus, these relationships often provide us with the opportunity to feature rare and unique specimens simply not seen in other gardens.
Creating a greener world, one garden at a time... We are at a unique moment in time when each of us has the unprecedented power to alter our environment globally through action on a local scale. By providing habitat in a pot, a window box, an urban rooftop, a suburban yard, or on acreage, we can create a network to sustain wildlife populations. Through our imaginations and thoughtful actions, each of us can create the world we wish to live in, the world we prefer to leave our children. Yet it is difficult to overstate the challenge before us:
More than half of all North American bird species are in decline, with more than a third approaching critically endangered levels; loss of habitat is a primary reason.
Since 1985, the Chesapeake Bay watershed has lost 100 acres of forest each day, decimating prime breeding grounds for innumerable species, and impoverishing our natural air and water conditioning systems.
Alien ornamentals support 29 times less biodiversity than native plants, creating ecologically inert habitats for our essential pollinating species.
To date, 54% of land area in the lower 48 states has been subjected to urban/suburban development while another 41% is in agricultural use. Alarmingly, this leaves a mere 4% of our total land area in its natural state. Furthermore, these ‘natural’ areas often consist of highly degraded ecosystem fragments bordering our neighborhoods and highways. Subjected to a constant onslaught of toxic runoff, airborne pollutants and invasive plants, these remnants struggle to support ever decreasing levels of biodiversity. Conventionally landscaped areas ae often ecologically inert, and actually add to our overall environmental debt. You Can Make A DifferenceFortunately, with great challenge comes great opportunity. The statistics above clearly illustrate the vital role that our suburban landscapes must play if we are to reverse the current trend toward mass extinctions. With simple steps to create more ecologically friendly yards and neighborhoods, we can all make critical strides to reduce habitat loss, conserve water and provide the nutrient sources that form the foundation of our entire food web (immediately changing that 54% statistic in our favor). As Dr. Doug Tallamy, author and University of Delaware entomologist eloquently states, “We have never been so empowered to help save biodiversity from extinction, and the need to do so has never been so great. We need to plant native plants... Garden as if life depended on it!"