Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine - - Contents - By Brie Jar­rett - Dun­das, On­tario Pho­tog­ra­phy by Joel Reynolds of Cap­ture Stu­dio

Fil­ter­ing through the noise and bring­ing it back to ba­sics

Even be­fore pen is put to pa­per, de­signer John Har­se­voort finds it es­sen­tial to sit down with a client and just talk.

“There is so much noise out there,” he says. “With social me­dia and the in­ter­net, it can get con­fus­ing for my clients to find out what they truly want, es­pe­cially when look­ing at gor­geous in­spi­ra­tional pic­tures. It’s my job to fil­ter through the noise and get back to ba­sics, the nitty, gritty.”

Har­se­voort does that by spend­ing time with his clients and un­cov­er­ing what they truly want and need and work­ing to cre­ate value within their bud­get. Of­ten at the end of this process, Har­se­voort finds that those Pin­ter­est pic­tures, while beau­ti­ful to look at, have so lit­tle to do with what a client re­ally wants af­ter all.

Har­se­voort finds that this be­gin­ning process is so es­sen­tial to avoid the “10 sec­onds of plea­sure fol­lowed by 10 years of re­gret” sce­nario and there­fore stresses the im­por­tance of hir­ing a de­signer for an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion.

“When clients un­der­stand that you are here to fa­cil­i­tate their best in­ter­ests and pro­vide the best value, not just eat up their bud­get, they be­gin to re­lax. Of­ten their ini­tial bud­get is ar­bi­trary, as peo­ple don’t re­ally un­der­stand the costs in land­scap­ing, so it’s also an ed­u­ca­tion process,” he says. Some clients are ready to do one big ren­o­va­tion in one go and with others Har­se­voort helps plan ren­o­va­tions in stages, over a num­ber of years.

Har­se­voort works from a plan but loves the va­ri­ety that his job brings ev­ery­day, es­pe­cially mas­ter­mind­ing the in­evitable changes and chal­lenges that come up in land­scap­ing. His ca­reer started 20 years ago when look­ing for “just a job” and be­gan work­ing in land­scape con­struc­tion, first as a labourer and then, in time, as a project man­ager. Now a de­signer for the past five years at Map­leridge Land­scap­ing in An­caster, On­tario, Har­se­voort says “it’s been a learn­ing curve,” de­scrib­ing his con­stant bat­tle be­tween think­ing about how things work and

think­ing from a more cre­ative, out of the box viewpoint. “The good news,” Har­se­voort laughs “is that ev­ery­thing I de­sign can be built!”

Grow­ing up in Strat­ford, On­tario, this mar­ried fa­ther of three de­vel­oped a love of the out­doors, which he now en­joys in his day to day life at work and at home in his adopted city of Hamil­ton, On­tario, en­joy­ing the es­carp­ments, wa­ter­falls and lake­fronts the area of­fers. Har­se­voort is also re­ally taken with the changes in the city, with the dif­fer­ent eclec­tic and artis­tic ar­eas of Hamil­ton that have been in­creas­ingly de­vel­op­ing. Har­se­voort gets es­pe­cially an­i­mated when de­scrib­ing the funky Hamil­ton projects that oc­ca­sion­ally come his way.

“There are so many great neigh­bor­hoods in Hamil­ton that are be­ing re­fur­bished and given a sec­ond life, and we are see­ing more and more front yards be­ing turned into court­yards, with seat­ing ar­eas or land­ings,” he says. Ex­plain­ing fur­ther, “There is this new cul­ture of peo­ple be­ing in­volved in, em­brac­ing and en­gag­ing in cre­at­ing com­mu­nity and so peo­ple are open­ing up their front yards for social ex­change.”

One gets the sense, that there is an in­her­ent sense of per­fec­tion­ism in ev­ery­thing Har­se­voort does es­pe­cially with his back­ground in con­struc­tion. But with­out a doubt, there is a great love, pas­sion, cre­ativ­ity and clar­ity in all he does - clearly the mark­ings of a great de­signer! ~

John Har­se­voort

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