Landscape Architects
Raymond Jungles

Mar 28, 2011
Landscape Architects

Principal - Raymond Jungles, Inc.

Areas of Specialty
- Residential Gardens
- Boutique Hotel Gardens
- Urban Gardens
- Botanical Gardens

Designer Q&A with Raymond

What is your design philosophy?
To me, landscape architecture is about the stewardship of the land.  As landscape architects, we should create innovative, intelligible gardens which are responsive to the surrounding natural systems. Garden design is a healing process that combines art and science. Each garden is an opportunity to restore nature’s balance and harmony on a micro scale.   

What led you to this career?
I have had a lifelong passion for nature and the out-of-doors. My earliest memories were of strikingly beautiful natural places. While living in Southern California as a small child, I was exposed to Yosemite, Sequoia, the desert, Baja California, the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island, and the beaches. Each in its own way has had a profound influence on my appreciation of nature and garden design. 
My interest in design and architecture developed after moving to Florida in 1974. Landscape Architecture ultimately offered the ideal fusion of my talents. While attending the University of Florida, I was introduced to the work of the Brazilian artist and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, whose book, the “Tropical Gardens of Roberto Burle Marx,” opened my eyes to the poetry of landscape design. 

What has been your favorite project and why?
My favorite project is always the next one. 

Tell us about your most challenging project.
My most challenging project has been the Brazilian Garden at Naples Botanical Garden.   The garden represents all major Brazilian ecosystems by displaying corresponding plant life as if they were in their natural habitats, assisting the plants in achieving their ultimate growth characteristics. 
I was very involved in the research and selection of the plant material. Specimen materials needed approval by a horticulturalist to ensure the plants were of the region and were non-invasive. Native palms and specimen trees have sculptural, cultural, and visual importance in the garden, many of which Burle Marx personally discovered on his excursions to the Brazilian wilderness or propagated at his nursery in Sitio Burle Marx. 

What is your design process?
I have to spend time on-site, come to a space and absorb it all. I have been doing this long enough that I know what triggers my attention and is critical for the design process. I try to stay very open-minded when the project is starting to formulate.
I like to start a project, then work on something else and then come back and look at it from a new perspective. You can get the essence of a project sometimes in the first 20 seconds. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I have found the right solution. 
The first priorities are generated by the scale of the space and what the function of that space will be. Once I can see the space, the hardscape, grading, drainage, and circulation, I know which plants will do better there.
The hardscape elements are the bones of the garden. My personal preference is to create hardscape that is simple, clean and easy. It will be timeless, looking better with age.    
Trees always take precedence. It cannot just be an overstory or understory, you need the canopy, the intermediate range, the middle range, then the groundcovers, and grass areas  While on-site, I put flags in the ground where the trees are to go, loosely following my planting plan. When the trees are in place, I put the next layer in, the next volume, stepping down in volume. 
I like plantings to have depth and provide habitat. I also like the garden to look as though it is subversive, almost taking over the hardscape, and if left alone, the plants will eventually become stronger and more likely to last longer than the hardscape.         

Contact Information
Raymond Jungles, Inc.
242 SW 5th Street
Miami, FL 33130