On Design: Brooks Garcia

On Design: Brooks Garcia

March 25, 2005

Q: Who are your favorite artists?

A: Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. I love the romance of Impressionism but particularly the garden scenes and landscapes. Of course, Monsieur Monet was an avid gardener and I think Van Gogh really understood the landscape and agrarian life as he captured it so well.

Q: What client request do you most dread?

A: Pools. I love pools and the design possibilities but there don't seem to be any dependable professional pool companies. All I hear are horror stories.

Q: Who or what prompted you to go into landscape design?

A: I was actually in school studying horticulture. We had visited one of those mass production farms that grew a million azaleas and rhododendrons a year. I totally freaked out and thought, "I'll go mad if this is what I'll be doing". I considered going into art then, I found Landscape Architecture, the perfect blending of art and horticulture.

Q: How important are trends to your work?

A: Not very important. Trends are just that, something that comes and goes. I base my designs on classical principals whether they are modern or formal. They call it classical for a reason. There is one trend I feel is very important: I support and promote environmentally friendly and sensitive design.

Q: Lawns — for or against?

A:This is back to being environmentally sensitive and just smart. A lawn is the highest maintenance design element per square foot. I just laugh when clients want to simplify their garden maintenance by adding lawn. They have to be fed, watered, dethatched, renovated, sprayed and cut at least once a week. And the millions of pounds of petroleum base fertilizer that are poured on the ground is staggering. Now, on the other hand there are options to the overly manicured and high maintenance lawn grasses. These selections will vary by region but here in the South, Centipede and St. Augustine grasses are two very good lower maintenance options. On a larger scale, seasonal mown meadows can be an option.

Q: Name one plant that you think should be more widely used.

A: Trees, long-lived trees, not 'instant gratification' trees. Oaks, Beeches, Hickories and Chestnuts.

Q: Where do you go to watch people?

A: The Barnesville, Georgia Friday night Chicken Auction, what a sociological experience. Also, the lunch counter at Ria's Bluebird Café, Atlanta.

Q: Which architects, living or dead, would you most like to work with?

A: Philip Trammell Shutze (deceased) was a great classical architect who did may fine estates in Georgia and was big on integrating the house to the landscape. Mies Van De Rohe, I need to learn more about 'less is more' and hone some modern skills.

Q: Which contemporary designer, in any field, do you find most interesting?

A: Roberto Burle Marx. I love his modern approach to design, innovative use of materials and his love of plants.

Q: What is your favorite movie — for the scenery?

A: Recent film: 'House of Flying Daggers', a visual feast if you can look past the blood, hair, fur and eyeballs. Old film: 'A Room with a View', how can you not love Italy!