The Landscape Professional and Client Relationship, Part II
Principal at Arcadia Studio in Santa Barbara and a resident of Los Olivos, Carol Puck Erickson, ASLA, has an extensive portfolio of residences and arid gardens in Arizona and beautiful installations throughout California, Puck was initially educated in the visual arts, which still informs her work. She is an avid bi-coastal hiker and amateur botanist who is intrigued by the relationships between the cultural and agrarian landscapes and the native environment.
Puck is also committed to the therapeutic value of gardens, as a founding member of the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden and pro bono consultant for many school and community gardens. She has worked with Eye of the Day on a large variety of projects over the last two decades and is one of our favorite landscape professionals.
EOD: How has your design relationship evolved over time with any particular client?
I have enjoyed working with clients on multiple projects, sometimes over decades as the gardens reflect an evolution in their owners’ perspectives on the twists and turns of their own lives. Working together, we gain an understanding of the role time plays in a garden and in our own lives. Often, with their second or third gardens, people are willing to plant a bit smaller and also to simplify their approach to garden designs. While others, coaxed into the out-of-doors by their first garden, become avid collectors and gardening enthusiasts.
EOD: How do you accommodate the client’s changing tastes over a span of time and still allow your own accumulated professional experience to show through?
I listen closely, very closely!! As the years have flown by, I find that often I am simply a translator and steward as my client churns out ideas with unbridled enthusiasm, often without recognizing their own insight into a space, or an observation gleaned from their travels. It is through my experience and design discipline that we can take these wonderful ideas and marry them to the environment of the new garden.
I am often surprised at how easily some designers seem to let go of their gardens and the evolution of those spaces, from both a horticultural and aesthetic perspective. When we work with clients we are not creating a garden image, frozen in time. Once the garden is completed, the real fun begins. The garden begins to build its own rhythm and dynamic as it flows from season to season and we are committed to continue that dialogue with our clients and their gardens over years, if not decades! I think responding to the drought is a perfect example of how an on-going relationship with the client and their garden can make a real difference.
To view more of Puck’s work, visit Arcadia Studio.