An Interview With Jason Allison, Landscape Designer And Outdoor Problem Solver

Jason Allison, Landscape Designer with the Sanders Design Group, has graciously agreed to an interview for today’s post. Sanders Design Group is a full service landscaping company located in Central Texas.

It’s Spring in Texas. Just look outside and you cannot help but be impressed with the spectrum of colors that grace our yards and flowerbeds. I can feel my sap begin to rise just thinking about what I will plant this year. Perhaps it was pure selfishness that led me to ask these questions of Jason Allison, hoping to gather insight from the mastermind behind most of the Jenkins Custom Homes landscapes. He did not disappoint. He has proven himself, yet again, to be both knowledgeable and eloquent – a unique combination to be sure.

Me: What types of perennials do you like to use and why?

Jason: First, I prefer to see what the customer likes. Even if they just have preferences as simple as color or size, their initial input is very valuable. I then like to take into consideration the individual environment. Is the area sunny or shady? Is there a pet or deer issue? I will then put together some ideas that incorporate native or adaptive plant choices that will give a good mixture of color and texture throughout the year. Some of my favorite choices include: Lantana (many varieties), Esperanza, Salvia, Mexican Bush Sage, Plumbago, Artemisia, Skull Cap, and Jerusalem Sage; just to name a few. These selections, amongst others, can provide that season long and year-round interest and have proven reliability in our Central Texas climate.

Me: What do you recommend people do to spruce up their yards?

Jason: One quick way to spruce up a yard is to clean out the overgrown and “past-prime” plantings around the landscape. A simple clean-up and often regrouping of existing plants will help make dated yards look fresh and also open up some space for new plants and color to be added. Sometimes a simple cut-back and fresh layer of mulch can really shape things up as well. Also, one great way to add a real “punch” is to add some decorative pots with new color and evergreen plantings.

Me: What are people asking you about these days? What’s on people’s minds?

Jason: It seems more and more common these days to be asked about sustainable, environmentally conscious, or “green” options for the landscape. There are a lot of new concepts and products out there to accommodate those desires and it is exciting to be involved in creating responsible landscapes with that in mind.

Me: Would you mind telling us a little about how you design the landscaping for a particular house?

Jason: Like I mentioned before, the first thing I like to do is get a good input from the customer. After all, it is their home and their happiness in the end that is most important. I take their thoughts and ideas into consideration and then I interject my own in to the overall concept based on what I know will work together well both functionally and aesthetically. Once I have a good general idea of what is needed I then will make a concept design and put together a materials list. Next I usually revisit the project with the customer to make sure we are on the same page and I am heading in the right direction. After that meeting I will then put together a detailed design and overall plan for the project as well as a cost estimate as needed.

There are many factors that go into a good landscape plan. Elevation, drainage, hard-scape, existing vegetation, bed size and shape; to name a few. However, for me, it always comes back to what the customer has in their minds for what they envision the landscape to be. Sometimes more guidance from me is required then others, but overcoming the challenges each project presents to achieve those results is one of the most rewarding parts of what I get to do. Maybe instead of being titled a “Landscape Designer” I should be called an “Outdoor Problem Solver”, in a creative and beautiful way of course.

Me: If you don’t mind me asking, how is business?

Jason: I am glad to say that business is good. Personally I am as busy as I have ever been and I hope that is due not only to a resurgence in the economy but also as a result of satisfied customers. I truly believe that if you provide a great product, the desire for that service will always be there in some form.

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