How the heck does one become a landscape designer?

I started working for my brother’s landscape company in high school. Hated it, and swore I’d never do it again as soon as I could get away. I kept working for him until I started my first landscape business when I was 20. I then spent some time moving around the country, working in Ohio, then San Diego. San Diego was the source of two revelations. I worked for a firm doing amazing estates on the coast, so I learned a little about everything, from masonry to irrigation to electrical. I later ran the grounds crew for the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, which is where I discovered how amazing modern architecture (and Louis I. Kahn in particular) can be.


I later moved to Phoenix, took some time away from the industry, and studied interior design. I reached a point where I missed playing in the dirt so I worked as a designer for a large design-build firm in Tempe. In 2005, MJ (my wife) got a job at University of Mary Washington and we moved to Virginia. I worked for an amazing landscape design-build firm for three years, 2008 happened, and suddenly the only way to remain as a landscape designer was to hang out a shingle and start my own firm.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie I highly recommend that path to becoming a designer, especially the 2008 part.

But here we are, years later and I’m still here! Having a blast, actually, as I’ve refined what I do over the years.

What I do

A few years ago I did an exercise where I looked for a common thread among all my past clients. There was definitely overlap in terms of demographics – landscape design is a luxury service – but I soon noticed something more. All my best clients were people who were proud and happy with who they were, and they wanted their landscape to reflect that. Sometimes that meant classic and reserved, other times it meant figuring out how to add wings to a horse topiary to make it a Pegasus (for real).

So I provide landscape design services for homeowners and businesses in the DC metro area. I design literally everything for the outside of the house. That includes plantings, patios, walls, decks, porches and porticos, pergolas, poolhouses, lighting, water features, and outdoor kitchens. And anything else you can think of.

I also write on landscape related topics, and I love speaking at events and giving workshops. You can reach out to me if you’d like to book me for your event.

Why you should hire me

I make the design process fun, but obviously that’s not enough. I also listen to you and ask the right questions to understand what’s important to you so we get a landscape that fits you like your favorite baseball glove fit you when you were a kid. My interior design studies taught me a lot about space planning so my spaces work.


I also have a very cute dog who likes expensive treats, so hiring me helps her.

Ready to get started? Fill out the contact form or call me at 703-679-8550 and let’s talk!


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