Denise Weber, a nearly lifelong resident of Gainesville, has been intrigued with its flora and fauna since her arrival in 1972. While raising two headstrong daughters, Denise chose the flexibility of self-employment and wore the many hats of a successful Landscape Design/Build Contractor. Today she continues living her dream, as a designer, in the green industry of her hometown. Here are excerpts from our interview with Denise:
What drew you to landscape design?
I’ve always been fascinated with the radiant beauty of healthy plants and their ever-changing cycles and growth. My obsession began with house plants. For me, it was important to not only keep my plants alive but to keep them healthy and flourishing while gorgeously arranged as an expression of joy.
At the age of 16, I landed a job with a retail nursery up the street from my parents’ home. There I discovered my superpower of arranging patio plant displays. Nothing was more rewarding than seeing people stop and pause; spellbound by the beauty of our plants. One day, my boss introduced the idea of Landscape Architecture as a career path and off I went.
What part of your job are you most passionate about?
There are many aspects of my job I am passionate about, but my favorite is exceeding the expectations of my clients. When I talk with someone about their yard and garden, or outdoor green space, my goal is to guide them toward something we are both proud of. Achieving this is the ultimate of success.
What is a common misconception about landscape maintenance?
Many people think a well-planted outdoor space requires high maintenance. Many think plain ‘ol sod is the cheapest and easiest way to go. This is simply not the case.
What are your favorite plants for Florida landscaping?
My favorite plants are the native and Florida-friendly plants. These are the plants which complement our outdoor spaces and endure the test of time; the best hosts for our wildlife. These are the plants that better survive drought, provide aesthetic beauty, and require less maintenance. Because every site and every client are unique, we are lucky to have many great choices available. Ultimately, choosing the right plant for the right space makes a plant my favorite.
How long have you been involved in landscape design?
I have been planning and creating exterior living environments for thirty years; twenty of those years I worked as an independent contractor wearing all the hats. I would provide the designs, coordinate the installations, hire my own help, operate my own Bobcat, and maintain the office. All of my work came to me by word of mouth; this is the greatest of compliments. Now my focus is strictly on design work with Jonathan Mitchell of LawnMore carrying out the installations.
What sets you apart from other landscape designers?
My interest lies in the use of native, Florida-friendly and edible plants when planning and creating outdoor green spaces. I pay grave attention to detail and strive toward shrinking energy footprints. I believe in good planning and prefer setting up environments we care for over environments we have to maintain. My philosophy is based on sustainable design and my goal is to provide a healthy “sense of place”.
Denise is an exciting addition to the LawnMore family. She is an absolute professional with degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Florida, and landscape design and construction from Colorado State University. Denise is TurfSwap Certified with the Alachua County EPA, and certified in stormwater management with the state of Florida. We appreciate her ability to develop landscape designs both aesthetically beautiful and environmentally sound. She is sure to delight our customers with her innovative, Florida-friendly landscape designs and attention to detail.