What designers get wrong about landscape architects

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Boh haley chouinard min

Great design takes more than just a good designer. There are often dozens of other professionals involved in the process, from electricians and plumbers to painters and architects. We reached out to three landscape architects—Keith WilliamsJanice Parkerand Ellen Tips—and asked them about the most common missteps designers make.

Keith Williams

Keith WilliamsCourtesy of Nievera Williams


“The misconception is often the overall scope of what we do. In most cases, people don’t realize that we’re not just dealing with plants. We’re involved in the infrastructure and civil engineering aspects like landscape lighting and irrigation—[everything] you see as soon as you step out the door, and [even] things that you don’t see or appreciate that much. There are a lot of aspects that interior designers don’t take into consideration, like the positioning of the house, exposure to sunlight and wind—and that’s what we’re thinking about all the time. I’ll never forget the project where we’d designed the pool, and the well-intentioned designer didn’t think it was long enough, so extended one end without telling us. What they didn’t realize was that the pool was on axis with the rest of the house, so when the pool was poured, it was then noticeably off-center. We had to fluff up the landscape to correct that. There’s a reason for all that we do, so communication needs to be clear.” —Keith Williams, Nievera Williams, Palm Beach

Ellen Tips

Ellen TipsCourtesy of Ellen Tips


“The most common thing I’ve noticed is that designers will have a very specific idea of what plants they want where without knowing the conditions that plant needs to grow. Maybe they want a plant that needs a lot of direct sunlight in order to thrive on a terrace that’s really shady. They’ll get ideas of what they want before actually talking to me and then I have to break down why it’s not going to work.” —Ellen Tips, Jane Gil Gardens, New York

Janice Parker

Janice ParkerSandrine Lee


“All too often, we all depend on communication using a digital exchange of drawings and video meetings. These are helpful and better than nothing, but they are not a substitute for old-school, in-person teamwork. A successful project is always dependent on the collaboration between the design teams, and our best outdoor spaces directly link to and enhance different rooms of the house, adding seasonality and more living space.

“It can sometimes seem like designers think we don’t understand geometry and the spatial allowances required for good furniture layouts. Landscape architects have varied training and expertise. When we specialize in residential, we carefully consider the use and functionality of our ‘outdoor rooms’ and site circulation. Working with an interior designer will help the overall layout of the outdoor living spaces, and as a team we can do our best work.” —Janice Parker, Janice Parker Landscape Architects, Greenwich, Connecticut

Header image is a Palm Beach project designed by Nievera Williams.


Blueberry Mascarpone Ice Cream



  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 container (8 ounces) Wisconsin mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt


  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 5-8 minutes or until blueberries pop. Remove from the heat. Cool, stirring occasionally. Place berry mixture into a food processor; cover and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Beat mascarpone and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl until combined. Add cream, vanilla and salt; beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into blueberry puree, leaving a swirl pattern. Spoon into an airtight freezer container. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

(When beating the mascarpone, take care not to overbeat as it could churn into a lumpy texture similar to butter.)


Bunny Rabbit Ice Cream Holder


Blueberry Basque Cheesecake



  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • granulated sugar and confectionerś sugar, for dusting (optional)


1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Gently roll the puff pastry out on a clean surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Press the pastry inside the pan and up the sides of the pan. It is OK if the pastry does not go all the way up the pan (see above photos). Transfer to the fridge and chill while you prepare the batter.

3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl until very smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time until the eggs are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then reduce the mixer speed to medium-low. Add cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Sift the flour into the batter, then beat again to combine, about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pastry-lined pan. Gently sprinkle the blueberries over the batter, some will sink. Gently fold the corners the pastry over the berries. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until deeply golden brown on top and still very jiggly in the center. Let the cake cool 5 minutes, then unmold. Let cool completely. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature or chilled.

*Cheesecake base adapted from Bon Appétit.



Shop Serving > DESSERT

Southwest Sunday Brunch


SHOP HOME Style and Decor Table Settings: SOUTHWEST FLARE


Note: I always do my brunches on the serve yourself and sit anywhere system. So I offer new dishtowels to cover laps! For this day I love these..



Denver Omelette, Shrimp Toast, Bloody Mary’s with Millionaire’s Bacon and a charcuterie with figs

+ Salad and Bread + chilled watermelon



Baked Denver Omelet Breakfast Casserole

• 1 tsp butter

• 1 tsp olive oil

• 1/2 tsp chopped garlic

• 1 tsp grated ginger

• 8 to 10 button mushrooms, cut in half

• 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized squares

• 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-sized squares

• 1 onion, cut into bite-sized squares

• 5 to 6 slices of ham, cut into small pieces

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 8 eggs

• 1 Tbsp sriracha

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat butter and oil in a pan and add ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute or so and add mushrooms. Stir-fry the mushrooms on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes and add both varieties of bell peppers. Stir-fry again for 2 to 3 minutes and add the onions. Cook everything together on high heat for another two minutes. Season with salt and pepper and turn off the flame. Add the ham and mix well.

Whisk the eggs with sriracha, salt and pepper and set aside.

Spray a baking dish or brush it with oil. Transfer the veggie and ham mixture to the baking dish and pour the egg mixture evenly over it. Sprinkle with grated cheese (if using) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown from the top. Rest for a few minutes before slicing, or store it for later.

Notes: Feel free to cut the vegetables smaller or larger based on your preference. Add grated cheese, cream, milk or half-and-half while whisking the eggs. It’s important to quickly stir-fry the veggies on high heat before adding the whisked eggs. The veggies leave a little water, and if you skip this step, the final dish might be too gooey or even watery in parts.



Shrimp Toast

1/4 cup heavy cream

8 slices brioche or home-style white bread

1/2 cup vegetable oil or clarified butter, for frying

Duck sauce or pepper jelly, for garnishing, optional

8 ounces peeled and deveined raw shrimp (about 9 ounces unpeeled)

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons minced green onions, green parts only

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

3 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces

  1. Combine the shrimp, egg, egg white, green onions, parsley, garlic, salt, and white pepper in a food processor and process until blended but still slightly chunky. Add the cream cheese and pulse until smooth and thick. Add the cream and pulse just until blended, being careful not to over process.
  2. Spread 1/4 cup of the shrimp mixture onto each slice of bread, spreading to the edges and smoothing the top.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil to 360 degrees F in large deep skillet. Add the shrimp toast in batches, coated sides down, and fry until golden on the first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook until golden on the second side, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  4. To serve, cut each toast diagonally into quarters. Serve hot, with a drizzle of duck sauce or a dab of pepper jelly, as desired.




Millionaire’s Bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a wire rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Arrange the bacon on the wire rack and sprinkle with the cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Lightly pat the brown sugar on top of the bacon to create a thin layer.
  3. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the brown sugar has melted and the bacon is crisp.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Using tongs, transfer the bacon to a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.



Bloody Cowboy

  • 4 ounces high quality tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons dill pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 drop liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces vodka

For the rim:


Garnishes that you eat as you drink the Bloody Mary:

  • 1 thin stick of celery
  • 1 dill pickle wedge (optional)
  • 1 piece of candied bacon
  • A lime wedge