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! ~