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Creating a Paradise Right in Your Backyard: An Interview with Maria Von Brincken Landscape Garden Design

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I am a landscape design professional. I design landscapes for homeowners in order to solve a number of problems and ultimately, make their homes look better. I have been doing it full-time since 1994, ever since I graduated from Radcliffe's Landscape Design Program and was certified by them. In 2003, I earned an International Certification with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. I offer full design services and installation for everything from patios, walkways, and planting combinations that offer a sequence of colors and continue to look good throughout the winter. My designs include all the aspects that a great landscape should include. I will do whatever needs to be done landscape wise to keep my clients satisfied.

How did you get into this line of work?

I was a graphic designer for twenty years. I took some time off to raise my children and people kept asking me to design their gardens. I eventually realized I had a knack for it and enrolled in Radcliffe's design program.

What types of landscaping projects have you worked on in the past?

I would say my specialty is my work with entry gardens. These are large-scale projects that start at the street and go right up to the front door. I am enhancing the architecture of the house, I am creating views and places to sit, I am solving problems on where to place the driveway, etc. This includes setting up paths and creating a landscape that can last twelve months of the year. I also create specialty gardens, wildflower gardens, shade gardens, and backyard gardens. Many of these projects go along with the architecture of the house. If it is a classic house, we will be more likely to do a contemporary landscape. There is also Asian style landscapes, Victorian landscapes, colonial farmhouses, etc. that all have their own style of landscapes that are required.

What should homeowners be looking for in a good landscape and design company?

Whoever you're working with should listen to you and value the fact that this is your space and everything is ultimately your decision. It is important to hire a landscaping company that is working closely with you to customize your design. It is not always smart to hire a contractor that offers free design services. They will not be qualified and will not have access to all the materials you may want. More recently, people have been calling themselves designers, but they have such a rudimentary knowledge of design and plant material that the process turns out somewhat sketchy. Often there will be some problems with grading and drainage, or plant materials that are not appropriate for the site. It is very important to find a landscaper that is fully trained and prepared to help you with each aspect of the process.

What sets your business apart from other comparable companies? Do you believe you do anything better/different?

I would say that my designs are really tailored to the client and their site. I really listen to what they want and try to come up with something that is just perfect for that site. It will be an original design that reflects the homeowners. I have a deep cultural background, so my planting compositions are very rich and abundant, and they can stay luscious throughout the winter.

In your opinion, how much can a newly landscaped exterior increase the value of a home?

There are studies on this, but I can't really speak on that. However, it is kind of common sense that if there is an ugly landscape, the home doesn't look as nice. If you decide to change this and create an inviting landscape, there is obviously a significant improvement in the value of the home.

How long does the process usually take from initial design to completion?

It usually takes about three weeks. I start to design during the winter months, permitting me to begin the landscape at the start of Spring. However, in the height of the installation season (May-September), sometimes these customers will have to wait a good deal longer to complete the project. We are a small company and so I can't always be out there doing the work if I have new designs that I need to complete.

What are your favorite projects to work on?

I really like all the projects. I love the variety of all the different types of design work I do. I can be designing an entry way, or a whole backyard design. I really love being a landscape designer and the transformation that happens when you take a place that looks ordinary completely change it. You take the best qualities of that place and enhance them. This can create serenity for the client and leave them feeling at peace.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

maria@mariavonbricken.com 978-443-4540

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