Good design is about taking a holistic approach, says Matt Leacy of Landart Landscapes + Pools
How did you get your start?
I did a lot of designing and rearranging my parents’ garden – and my bedroom – when I was a kid. When I was 16 my sister had a cerebral haemorrhage and we needed to build a new room to facilitate her disability. We didn’t have the money to do it so my dad’s mate helped us build the room and I had to pitch in and help. Through this I realised a love of manual labour, hard work and the outdoors. From there I did a fair bit of travel but always returned to the construction industry. On any project I worked on, I couldn’t help but make suggestions around improving the clients home or development I was working on. Clients began asking me to design for them and I realised it was something I was really passionate about.
What is your design philosophy?
To create a space that complements and softens the architecture, that is sympathetic to the surrounding landscape and improves a client’s lifestyle – these are the important factors when designing for a client. Generally, however, I believe that if you walk into a space and immediately your mood is enhanced in some way, then you know you are in a well-considered, well-designed space.
What is your design process?
It is really important to consider the property holistically. Rarely do we just design from the back door out. Homes and gardens are getting more and more interlinked. You can’t just consider what happens outside. One needs to look at how it is perceived from the inside and how the two connect. Not just visually but also in terms of flow and material choices.
Do you have a preferred style?
We specialise in delivering bespoke solutions that suit the architecture and the client. Simplicity and restraint is both the challenge and the key to a successful space.
What are some exciting trends?
One of the most exciting things at the moment is that plants are becoming the hero in a lot of spaces. Horticulture is at the forefront. This is really exciting as we are greening cities, overall aesthetics are softening, and we can enjoy the health benefits that come with it. There may come a shift away from this trend at some point but I will always be designing with plants.
What are some career highlights?
We have one national awards for our designs but the real highlights are the smaller achievements like a client saying thank you. Sitting in a space after a project has just been completed, enjoying a glass of wine with the client and admiring the project we have design and built with them.
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