Frequently Asked Questions (or at least stuff you might have wondered about)
Your garden is important to you. Since you are here reading this it's a safe bet that "outside" is important to you, or at least interesting. A relationship with a garden consultant is something that may be of value to you. Let's be real. There are lots of landscape companies around: some really big, some small...but the truth is that pretty much anyone can hang out a shingle and start advertising their services. Even large established companies are often offering superficial services with inexperience workers, and little real interaction with their clients. Keeps the grass trimmed, but it's not the way to get a great garden.
How can you know that you're getting more than a few guys in a truck? I've seen the inside of this industry. Most of the top guys on landscaping crews, even with the top companies, are pretty inexperienced. Years ago I spent some time interning in a marvelous English garden NW of London, Chicheley Hall. It's now owned by the Royal Society. The head gardener was a treasure of knowledge and the 3 man staff (including intern me) had a lot of gardens to maintain (13 acres!). This is NOT typical of most U.S. landscape maintenance companies. While the owner may have great experience, he/she needs workers, and the result is often what's called "mow, blow and go". You have to keep the grass cut, and thank the Lord for those who do that, but you need more if you want a special garden that goes beyond normal, boring stuff.
How does this service operate?
We are essentially a garden design and consultation service. We offer counsel, knowledge, design and subcontractor coordination services to the client who wants to improve their quality of life and take their gardening experience to a higher level. We do not have trucks and heavy equipment and we don't mow lawns. Our clients will need to hire a landscape maintenance company for the week to week lawn maintenance issues. Our role is to coordinate with that firm and communicate your desires making sure they do it the way it should be done. We are fully bilingual, so communication with Hispanic workers is not a problem.
When you choose to make improvements or changes to your garden, we offer design counsel and support services, and will gladly work with others on your team to get you the best results. There are many talented artists in this area, including waterscape designers, sculptors, potters, lighting designers, etc....and now with Internet connections, fascinating ideas, objects and materials are available to the homeowner. If you see it on Pinterest, you can probably have it (unless it's a view of Tuscany from your patio). Our role is to creatively integrate all these opportunities into a great design that helps you better enjoy your home or office.
So just What is Our Experience?
From Weeds and a Potting Shed...
Peter Gormley started out in the early 70's working in a local well-known retail nursery – Reasoner's on US 41 in Bradenton – working in the acres of production gardens back behind the sales office, under the teaching of the amazing couple Eric and Sally Golby, as well as British import Peter Forgen. Soon Peter was working in the sales office, running clients around in the cool golf carts to select plants from the extensive collection, and then began doing small installation jobs under Bud Reasoner and Marion Jones, the main Landscape Architect.
The roots of interest had already been planted during the late 60's when Peter was on St. Armand's Circle walking with his father, the late Richard Gormley. Peter saw a model of a project on the water that caught his attention in a window of the offices of Landscape Architect Lane Marshall. Fascinated by the model he set his sights on Landscape Architecture as a profession.
To Landscape Architecture...
Upon graduation from Manatee High in 1974 Peter headed to University of Florida to study Landscape Architecture, Music and Horticulture. After 3 years he left Gainesville to work a bit. During this time he worked with some local wholesale growers. After a few years working in Real Estate in Tampa and completing a BA in Business and some serious soul searching, Peter returned to his first love and began to study in 1981 at North Carolina State University in the Masters of Landscape Architecture program. While completing his Masters degree at NCSU (MLA '86), he worked as a Wake County Parks Planner in Raleigh for several years.
To England and Beyond...
In June 1986 Peter headed to England to work interning in an private garden, at the estate of Chicheley Hall, near Bedford. It was 25 acres of formal gardens, woodland, a 17th century notable brick mansion, lakes, dovecot and the works. Our responsibilities as the estate gardeners varied from tending the kitchen garden to trimming roses, and to all aspects of care for the amazing gardens. In the Fall, after the head gardener married and left the estate, Peter bought a backpack and started traveling around Europe. After jumping to Africa, Asia and finally Australia, he came back to Florida to settle down and work as a Landscape Architect.
Back to the Garden ...
Peter began working with a small design-build firm, Lacey Landscaping, and then moved to Swan, Moody & Associates. The firm was a prominent Bradenton Landscape Architecture firm working for the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, and for many private clients like Tropicana.
In 1989 Peter left the firm for ministerial training and then lived in Peru from '91-'98. Peter and his Peruvian wife, Rocío, moved back to Sarasota. He began working again with Swan, Moody & Associates until 2004 when he left and began working as a design-build salesman/designer with DesignScapes in Sarasota. In 2009 Peter temporarily stepped out of the field for a time to work full-time in ministry. In this new phase he has decided to offer his expertise by creating this Landscape Design and Consultation company while continuing to pastor the Hispanic church he and his wife founded in 1999, Iglesia Palabra de Fe ().
Note: While trained and experienced in Landscape Architecture, and having been actively licensed as a Landscape Architect in the past, we are not currently an active Registered Landscape Architect. Our status with the Florida Dept. of Professional Regulation is Inactive, though this will likely change in the near future.
Do I really need a Landscape Designer?
Only if you want something beyond what you are capable of doing yourself. We believe in the concept of a Power Team, bringing in the right person or company for the right job. No one can be best at everything. We have an amazing team of artists and professionals we can bring in to create a synergy of creativity. There are lots of folks who have a great sense of design, but may not have the plant knowledge or a sense of how to combine the different colors and textures, coordinating with a knowledge of plant needs, mature sizes and the biology and habitats of their property. A good landscape designer figures out the likes, dreams and lifestyle of his client, creating a landscape that goes far beyond the norm. He'll take you from the average to the amazing!
How much does it cost?
Less than you may think. We believe that good landscaping should be available to everyone. The cost really depends on the scale of your project. If you just want some ideas and a quick sketch, it may be that only an hour or two is necessary, and that can be just a few hundred dollars. If you want a basic home design (a personal interview, a base plan (from your survey), a landscape plan and some plant photos of proposed materials, it can start around $500 for the design. The more complicated, the more contractor supervision required, the more revisions...the more time required thus more cost. So cost will vary. It's a bit like building a house. You can go with a nice basic package, or you can upgrade. But you have options!
Services are invoiced on an hourly basis, unless otherwise agree, and hourly cost is $60, plus special costs like construction prints, color copies, abnormal travel costs, etc.
How do I get started?
Simple! Just call us. We'll talk, set up a meeting and decide if we can help you and what level of service you need. We're very friendly and easy-going. You'll enjoy working with us. And you'll love the results! (941) 780-4562.