Charlotte Landscape Architect Creates Beauty And Joy

Posted on | July 8, 2014 | No Comments

This time of year, landscapes and outdoor living spaces not only entice us visually, they are a joy to spend time in on weekends and at the end of a long work day. In the hands of talented professionals, some of these spaces rise to a level of true artistry. Charlotte landscape architect J’Nell Bryson is one of these individuals. J’Nell loves the outdoors, is passionate about gardens, and uses her wonderful artistic talent, keen intuition and experience to create landscapes that are bold, innovative and truly beautiful. J’Nell shared with North Carolina Design her motivation, how she conceptualizes a space, and her favorite aspects of landscape architecture.

Images Courtesy of J’Nell Bryson Landscape Architect ©

J’Nell’s passion for landscape design goes back to her childhood. “I grew up on three acres of land out in the country,” she recounts. “We had a little pond, and it was very picturesque. I just loved being there. Creating landscapes helps me keep that connection to the land, and allows me to spend time in beautiful outdoor spaces.”

For J’Nell, each project brings an opportunity to build something original and truly special. “When I create a design, I first and foremost follow the client’s lead, based on their tastes and what they want,” she explains. “That said, the site itself is the most important factor in any design. You can have two people who want the same things, but depending on the way the property faces the sun, the architecture of the home, and whether the land itself is flat or rolling, you will get a completely different result.”

J’Nell’s focus is not only on designing a beautiful landscape, but on creating outdoor rooms with the right feel. “Designing an outdoor space is very much like designing an interior space, but on an entirely different scale,” she explains. “The plants create structure; they become the doorways and the hallways, and can be used almost like walls to create the intimacy of an outdoor room. I have a palette of plant materials that I use to create textures and shapes and set a mood. I like to do a mix of textures and plant leaf colors to keep things interesting year round.”

One challenge in designing an outdoor space is that, unlike walls and doors, plants are living things that grow and change. “When they’re first installed, plants need to be placed pretty far apart to leave room for them to grow, so they aren’t going to have the lush look and visual impact they will five or ten years from now,” she concedes. “Using fewer plants in larger sizes can help create a hint of what that space will feel like when those plants grow.”

While J’Nell loves traveling to visit historic and classical gardens, her personal preference is a more contemporary look and feel. “I like nice clean lines,” she affirms. “There is almost a minimalist slant to my work. I like gardens that are open and streamlined, and use fewer species of plants in larger sweeps.”

J’Nell’s favorite part of any job is the creative process. “There are so many details to collect at the onset,” she notes. “I have to meet with the homeowner, meet with the surveyor, and come out to look at the site so I can gather as much information as possible. Eventually, the day comes when I’m done collecting information, and I get to compile it and come up with creative ideas about how to put the whole project together. I love those days. They are so much fun.”

One of my favorite lines of poetry comes from the 19th century Irish poet John Keats. He wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases.” This is definitely the case with a well designed landscape. What pleasure it brings as it continues to grow.

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