Setting the scenery in the yard
Landscape architect talks outdoor trends
Q. When should someone hire a landscape architect?
A. A landscape architect is a major asset when considering any upgrades to the outdoor realm. They are trained to observe the landscape, consider the surrounding context, determine the way in which one would like to use the property and make sound recommendations based on these and many other factors.
As well, a landscape architect is immersed in design language early in their education; this helps them
Landscape architect John Szczepaniak draws inspiration from the historic homes and gardens of Europe, as well as the landscapes of South America. A graduate of the University of Guelph’s landscape architecture program, he enjoys bringing natural stone and hardy plants together to create inspiring outdoor spaces. He shared some of his insight with us: create beautiful and livable outdoor spaces that are customized to one’s needs. Successful projects are the result of successful professional relationships; a landscape architect has access to a wealth of professional connections, which will help expand the potential of the project.
Q. What is one great tip you would suggest to a homeowner when it comes to landscape design?
A. Seeking professional help will ensure that one arrives at a solution that is well thought out, responds to its surroundings and fits the homeowner’s needs. Make certain that you are clear in your desires and communicate your expectations.
There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors. At the end of the day it is the homeowner’s space to enjoy and it should reflect their personality and sense of style.
Q. What is your favourite outdoor space?
A. The Experimental Farm. As I am a confirmed plant enthusiast, I find the collection of plants inspirational and a source for constant learning. I quite often find myself wandering through the farm on Friday afternoons in the summer with gelato in hand.
Whenever I am travelling, I consistently find myself seeking out local botanical gardens.
Q. What are the most commonly used materials when designing an outdoor space?
A. I like to use high-quality, durable materials and products. Natural stone and granite is always a fabulous longterm solution that will look amazing for many years. Interlocking pavers have their desirable attributes as well, being more affordable than natural stone and being available in many different colours and styles.
Low-maintenance, hardy perennials are an important component of the palette of materials as well as native trees. Q. What’s hot right now? A. Sleeker, cleaner design and materials including granite and natural stone. In addition, Ipe, a highly durable, sleek South American hardwood, is very popular.
I also find the addition of translucent resin panels suited for outdoor application used in fences, screens and decorative railings is highly desirable, especially when infused with night lighting. Quality outdoor furnishings finish these spaces off well.
This Szczepaniak-designed lounging and dining area is refined, yet earthy, thanks to the warm tones of natural materials and the canopy.
Limestone and plants with a tropical feel provide a framework for an inviting pool in this backyard designed by landscape architect John K. Szczepaniak.
Landscape architect John K Szczepaniak says seeking professional exterior design help will reward the homeowner.