We are lucky to have established ourselves as a business in the very competitive pool of landscape designers serving Westchester County. Landscape design, build, and maintenance are demanding industries with the majority of make-or-break business occurring in six months of the year. There is often a high turnover among both staff and companies that can preserve. Jay Archer has worked in landscaping in Westchester and Fairfield Counties for decades. In this blog, he reflects on what separates the cream from the crop – why certain landscape designers thrive, and others fail.
Design Point of View
Like any artist, a landscape designer should have a clear point of view when designing. Much of this may be informed by the Design Program – the criteria for the design, a wish list from the client, or a set of problems to solve – but the designer’s own expertise, talent and design style will also inform their design point of view. Without a strong point of view, the design will lack coherency and lose the special details that make a landscape unique.
At Green Jay Landscaping, we are an ecological landscape design and build firm. Jay’s point of view as a landscape designer draws heavily from natural landscapes. He seeks to design habitats that perform many ecosystem services. Nearly all of our designs include pollinator gardens, rain gardens, or aquatic habitats. They are carbon net positive. Jay gravitates towards diverse, meadow-like perennial gardens and designed woodland understories for a wild, naturalistic, yet composed aesthetic. You are unlikely to find a European-style parterre in our designs. You will find productive, layered designed ecosystems that feel like your own private nature preserve at home.
Integrity & Communication
Integrity is the most important tenet for any business owner. It is a value we instill in our employees from day one. We respect the utmost privilege of working at each client’s home. Job sites are kept neat and tidy. Jay is always available by phone or for a site visit to review the landscape together. Strong communication goes hand in hand with integrity. We strive to keep clients updated through every step of the design and installation process. In our industry, weather can disrupt work schedules, and plant inventory can change suddenly. Communication with our valued clients through every step of the process is essential.
Designing an excellent landscape is one thing. Building that landscape is a different skill set entirely. At Green Jay Landscaping, we execute everything in-house, allowing us to control every critical step in the landscape installation. Our crews follow horticultural guidelines with Green Jay’s own organic planting and maintenance processes. Green Jay executes everything from hand-selecting the plants from the nursery to removing unwanted vegetation, precise landscape grading, soil preparation, irrigation, planting and masonry. Coordinating these installs, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, requires obsessive organization, connections with local vendors, and know-how when navigating local permits.
As mentioned above, a strong design point of view is what elevates great designers from mediocre designers. Point of view is formed, in part, through inspiration. Jay finds no shortage of inspiration in the natural world. Long before becoming a landscape designer, he travelled the country by way of national park, spending weeks on end backpacking in the woods. Jay has spent much time observing natural ecosystems, plant combinations and local fauna. His years as a naturalist are constantly informing his design decisions. Jay’s designs use many native plants, many modeled after combinations he observes in the field. Every plant choice, native or not, serves an ecological purpose — from habitat creation to erosion control to phytoremediation to producing a harvestable food crop. Jay other great inspiration is water; he has designed and built waterfalls, ponds and streams in many of his designs.
Investment in Long-Term Outcomes
Organic landscaping’s success relies on 1) creating the right growing environment for each plant and 2) designing with plants that attract natural predators to common garden pests. Our entire design and installation process is centered around creating a landscape that can succeed long-term, starting with our custom organic soil amendments and professional irrigation installation. We offer a one-year plant guarantee where proper maintenance is performed. For select clients we offer our full-service organic estate management.
We hope this blog provided some food for thought on what to consider when hiring a landscape designer. Try to find a designer who’s style and point of view align with yours. Look at reviews and for referrals from past clients to suss out important values like integrity, communication and timeliness. To schedule a consultation with Green Jay Landscaping, contact us.
Green Jay Landscaping
Where Design Meets Ecology