Principal - Paul Keyes Associates
Areas of Specialty
- Landscape Architecture
- Landscape and Garden Design
- Ornamental Horticulture
- Landscape Horticulture
- Landscape Construction and Management
- Environmental Studies
Designer Q&A with Paul
What is your design philosophy?
I try to be open to new ideas from other disciplines and be diverse in my approach to design. The best ideas come from the clients themselves: Listen to clients needs and goals and ask a lot of questions; understand them and make them clients for life.
What led you to this career?
It definitely started with my mom’s influence and passion for gardening. That led to my first landscaping business when I was fifteen years old. It was very successful and I sold the company when I was eighteen and used the profits to attend college because I realized that I needed an education and a greater understanding of the environment and my field.
What has been your favorite project and why?
Project one in the portfolio section on my website is a favorite. It started as simple design to replace the wood deck with a raised masonry patio. The owner was a self-described technology geek who was very fun, creative, and possessed the ability to understand the landscape drawings. The project evolved from new, raised masonry patios to include a swimming pool, outdoor double-sided fireplace, spa, outdoor shower, furniture, and plantings.
I also added french doors to his bedroom so he could wake up in the morning and run right out to jump in the pool or spa and use the outdoor shower. The design process was fun because the elements evolved over a few weeks of meetings with the client and his family that felt more like social events than work. I loved that he was really involved and excited every time we added another new feature.
The owner was from the south so when we finished construction he threw huge pool party including southern-style BBQ complete with a bluegrass band. It was a very fun day and very rewarding to see everyone enjoying our work.
Tell us about your most challenging project.
My most challenging project was the Frick Estates at Alpine Development, a subdivision of the 60-acre estate formerly owned by Dr. Henry Clay Frick. The developer purchased the estate for $58 million and subdivided the property into individual parcels, leaving the original estate on 20 acres. The first home in the development is on the market for $68 million.
My firm designed and styled the development entrance as well as the landscape and gardens for the primary residence. I also managed the installation and construction of our design work which included locally mined hand-carved granite walls, custom iron gates and lights, granite paving, and mature plantings.
This was challenging because it was the first development I styled, and because of the scope. The scale was tremendous and there were numerous site conditions and restrictions that we had never confronted before. A project of this scope is very demanding and the developer constantly challenged me on design issues that led to some amazing results. It was a really positive learning experience for me.
Q: What is your design process?
Client Meeting: Develop a design program and give the client an opportunity to tell us their project scope, goals and needs, specific likes and dislikes, general design requirements, and budget.
Site Analysis: Physical, environmental, and social analysis relative to the project scope and design requirements.
Zoning Review: Review the applicable zoning codes, building codes, and ordinances relative to the proposed design work.
Preliminary Designs Options and Budget: Prepare schematic design sketches to show alternative design approaches and budgets.
Client Presentation: Review and approval of preliminary designs or revisions.
Final Working Drawings and Documentation: Prepare final working drawings, written specifications, planting details, and construction details.
Paul Keyes Associates
111 N. Summit Street
Tenafly, NJ 07670
443 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016