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Expert Tips on Landscape Design: An Interview with John Beaudry of John Beaudry Landscape Design

By John Beaudry

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We design, install and maintain landscapes. We specialize in historic landscapes. Our approach is twofold: it involves honoring classical themes in landscape design and architecture while suggesting plants, materials and methodologies that help to stabilize, improve, and restore the natural environment. We have designed and installed gardens from New York to Chicago to California for over thirty years.

How should homeowners start a new landscape design project?

Building a successful landscape takes a great deal of thought and inspiration. If you want to start a landscape project, you will need to do a little research to find the right professional to assist you. It's best to start with a landscape designer who can help you to conceive your dream and make it a reality by selecting the best plants for the site and the mood that you want to create. A designer will also guide you in creating proper drainage, irrigation, lighting, etc.

Can you briefly explain the differences between a softscape and a hardscape?

In the landscape industry we refer to the build portion of the landscape as the hardscape. The hardscape includes patios, walkways, structures; basically everything not living. We refer to plants as the softscape. The softscape includes all plants from grass to trees.

What are some of the most popular design elements for homeowners?

Some of the most sought after elements of a landscape include patios for living outdoors, shade structures such as pergolas, ponds or other water features, lawns, and, of course, great plants that offer shade, fragrance, food, and screening.

How do irrigation and lighting factor into the landscape design?

Adding an irrigation system to a landscape can be a critical element that needs to be considered in the initial budget as they can be quite expensive to install. They need to be installed early on in the development of a landscape because pipes need to be run under walkways and other hardscape features. Irrigation systems are essential in arid climates and for establishing new landscapes. In regions with frequent rains, one may be able to forgo this cost. Whether or not to install an irrigation system is a good thing to discuss with a designer. Lighting systems, on the other hand, are typically less costly than an irrigation system, however it is still a good idea to plan for running wires prior to installing the hardscape. It may be obvious that lighting is not an essential part of a landscape, however, it can greatly improve the mood and drama of your landscape. Adding lights that show off the branching structures of trees and provide way finding will bring your garden to life at night, not to mention making it much easier to navigate!

What recommendations do you have for great looking plants that will survive with relatively low maintenance?

If you want great looking plants that will survive with relatively low maintenance, look to plants that are native to your region or that come from regions with similar climatic characteristics. Naive plants have, over millennia, adapted to the local conditions and are therefore naturally more likely to grow well in your climate. A good landscape designer will be familiar with the plants that will be the best fit for your landscape.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

John Beaudry Landscape Design operates out of San Diego, California. If you are interested in working them, you may reach them by calling at 619-929-9140 or by visiting their website at

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