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August 2007


MEET THE ARCHITECT

Daniel Richards
by Alexa Stevenson

A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT INFUSES HIS WORK WITH A MODERN AESTHETIC

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Describe your style as a landscape architect: Classic, timeless modernism—clean lines without sacrificing the warmth of a garden. Where did you receive training? In Australia I earned a bachelor of fine art in architecture and planning at the University of Queensland and a graduate diploma in landscape architecture at Queensland University of Technology. I've been in professional practice for 10 years. Do you prefer to design private gardens or those created for the public? I love the rewards of designing private gardens. Seeing a client's reaction once a garden is complete—or even better, as it evolves over the years—is invaluable. Have you done any work in Connecticut? I'm currently working on two proposals in Greenwich, and I hope there will be more to come. Connecticut is such an amazing environment to design and nurture a garden. What are your favorite elements of a landscape? Water, for its relaxing and mesmerizing qualities, both as a still surface and for the sound it makes moving in fountains. Sculpture is often incorporated into your work. Why? Sculptures animate the garden rooms I design for the landscape. They are a draw card that ignites curiosity to explore a garden. If it's possible for the interior, it's just as possible for the exterior. What are your favorite materials? I gravitate towards a combination of evergreen hedging (for the garden's frame) plus deciduous specimen trees to illustrate the various seasons. Favorite plant? Cestrum nocturnum, for its subtle discretion. Visually, it's not spectacular, but the fragrance—obvious only at night—is intoxicating. I use it as background planting. What mistakes do you see too often in landscape design? The use of too many species in one garden. Simple plant palettes—mass planted—have a much more rewarding effect. Is there a plant you can never use too much? Anything that hedges well! Name a source of inspiration? Marcel Breuer. He seamlessly integrated architecture and the landscape in a beautiful and effortless manner. I cringe when I see: Ill-considered spring color combinations—it's not that hard! What would you do for work if not this? I'm one of the lucky people who love what they do and wouldn't want to do anything else.

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