Rob Malone – Commercial Estimating/Project Coordinator, Landscape Designer
What area of Landscape design do you specialize in? My main focus is on commercial and large scale residential/ estate projects. I enjoy the challenge of working on a larger scale.
What drew you to this as a career? I have always been interested in design and architecture. Geometry, art and biology all came naturally to me in school. I was accepted into the College of Architecture Planning and Design at Kansas State University and initially wanted to become an Architect and design houses. Your first year in the program you are exposed to all forms of architecture from furniture design to landscaping. I am not really sure what it was, but I was drawn to landscaping and never looked back. I think it was the challenge of designing with living materials that change over time and with different locations that really peaked my interest.
What are some new trends you are seeing in the industry that you like? We are seeing people move back to natives. This doesn’t mean that you have to walk out your back door and see the prairie. Natives are being incorporated into landscape beds and being arranged in more modern ways. This creates a more appealing look while having the benefits of drought resistance and being adapted to this area. There have been several new native cultivars come out over the past few years that have improved color and structure of native plants.
What advice would you have for home owners looking to install a new landscape? First you need to step back and look at the long-term goal for your property. Are you wanting an instant effect or do you want the landscape to fill in over time? Landscapes are a living system that change and grow. You have to account for the plant materials final size when designing or you will be thinning out your landscape in 3-5 years as the plants begin to grow together. Some people want the instant full affect knowing that they will need to remove material as your landscape grows. Both can be accounted for in the initial design phase but this needs to be discussed early on in the design process.
What type of landscape/nature-scape are you drawn to? I personally enjoy more natural rustic looking landscapes. To be honest the architecture of the building dictates a lot of how the landscape is designed. I like to use the Italian Villa transition design concept. This is where the closer you are to the structure or entrance the more formal & structured the landscape. As you move out it can become more natural and flowing eventually transition into the existing native vegetation. The site and scale of the project greatly affect the transition process but this can still be achieved on most projects if applicable.