What Makes a Landscape Design Great?

A great landscape design is all about increasing the enjoyment of the people who live with it, says Jim Brubaker, owner of Jim Brubaker Designs, Inc., 909 Lawrence Dr., Fort Wayne.

“It’s not about what I like. It’s about listening to people and getting a sense of their tastes and lifestyles,” he says. “Do they have kids and pets we need to take into consideration? Do they live here seasonally or year-round? Do they want to do some hands-on gardening or do they prefer as little maintenance as possible?”

Sometimes people don’t know what they want from a landscape – they just know something needs to be done. That’s OK.

“In that case, I’ll take them to other job sites, or in some way show them what’s possible for their property, and I watch what they’re drawn toward,” he says.

Once he has a good sense of his customer’s needs and tastes, Brubaker draws up a landscape design plan that can be installed all at once or in stages. He sources plants from local wholesalers and greenhouses, works with two subcontracted installation companies and oversees the work on site.

“I try to introduce color to the landscape as early as possible in spring and extend it as late as possible into the fall,” he says. “That doesn’t only mean blooming plants. It may include berries and foliage with interesting colors and textures. There should also be interesting things to see in winter – not just limited to evergreens – for four seasons of enjoyment.”

Along with proper soil amendment and planting, Brubaker oversees installation of hardscape elements like stone, pavers or brick; water and fire features such as fountains, ponds, firepits and outdoor fireplaces; trellises, arbors, pergolas, patios and more.

“I love working with people. I love plants. And I love being outdoors,” Brubaker says. “And I enjoy seeing how a vision comes to life, surrounding people with beauty.”

Brubaker has worked with plants and people all of his adult life, first as a florist and later as the co-owner/president of a local landscape design company. He opened Jim Brubaker Designs with his late wife, Vicki, in 2008. It includes a gift shop, JBD Home, specializing in unique indoor and outdoor home décor, from furniture and lamps to fountains, planters and more, open Wed. to Fri. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at jimbrubakerdesigns.com, stop in at 909 Lawrence Dr., Fort Wayne, or call (260) 436-3639. ❚