Synergy by the yard

Synergy by the yard

Synergy by the yard

Today’s upscale landscape schemes are not about choosing plants that have received high marks from garden centers, making the yard look pretty and calling it good. High-end designers are creating spaces that are extensions of the home and also reflect the values and lifestyles of their clients. They are creating showcases that highlight the architectural […]

Today’s upscale landscape schemes are not about choosing plants that have received high marks from garden centers, making the yard look pretty and calling it good.

High-end designers are creating spaces that are extensions of the home and also reflect the values and lifestyles of their clients. They are creating showcases that highlight the architectural features of the home and the structural features of the property itself, which often comes with a spectacular view that gets incorporated into the overall scheme.

Add water features and sculptural fire pits, and the result is remarkable.

“I tell my clients to expect a budget of 15 percent to 20 percent of the home’s value for a landscape design,” said Jay Markel, owner and founder of Viriditas LLC in Boulder.

Consider, then, the cost to design and execute a project with the resulting ka-ching coming in at up to $500,000 — or more.

Markel advises his clients to look at the value the landscape adds to the property, not the price of the project.

“That really is an important point,” Markel said. “What people are looking for now is how much value is added to the property, the home and their lives.

“Our best gardens … are works of art, and they far exceed the dollar amount of individual pieces of art the clients might own. They understand the depth and how the garden changes over time and with the seasons. They share it with their friends and families and make memories in these spaces.”

Markel said his clients have come back to him years later, when they’ve sold homes with his landscape designs, to say they realized a threefold gain on the investment.

Martin Mosko, owner of Marpa Landscape Design Studio, also in Boulder, has been designing beautiful luxury landscapes for nearly four decades. With both residential and commercial clients in the studio’s portfolio, Mosko has seen enormous changes in the business throughout his career, but especially since 2008.

“Mega mansions are a thing of the past,” he said. “People are buying (and building) with a much greater awareness and sense of quality, sense of space and sense of ecology. The homes are better designed with more understanding of the experience of space and a much better understanding of the use of light. This awareness extends into the landscape so that the indoors and outdoors become more connected.”

The first step in the design process is listening. Both designers spend hours visiting with and listening to their clients, and getting to know what their lifestyles entail before ever putting pencil to paper.

For some, the perfect design may include an expansive lawn that provides ample space for children’s playtime. For others, it’s the serenity of an Asian-themed garden. But for all, the garden is a space that offers up natural beauty and a connection to the outdoors.

Mosko and Markel agree that the high-end client is less motivated by trends and more inclined towards unique spaces that “speak to their souls.”