Ellen Negrin-Fessler is a degreed landscape designer for homeowners, commercial property owners and public projects. Negrin-Fessler is the owner of ENF Designs in Monroe, NY. She shares why custom landscape design is key for homeowners to increase their living space, enjoy their home more, and realize the full value of their home.
Since receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Design/Landscape Horticulture, Negrin-Fessler has seen many changes in the ways residential property owners view their outdoor environments. Homeowners want to enhance their homes with the new materials available today for use outdoors.
Jan: Why does a custom landscape plan open up a better outcome for a homeowner?
Ellen: In my experience, the educated consumer would rather have a professionally designed landscape plan and know what their landscape will ultimately look like, rather than having no idea of what the final outcome will be. Once a homeowner has invested in having a landscape or hardscape installed without a plan and are unhappy with the outcome, it’s very painful and costly to have it corrected.
Jan: What is one potential roadblock to someone acquiring a custom landscape design?
Ellen: Some clients have a hard time envisioning what their project will look like. I recently had a client who feared she wouldn’t be able to understand the plan and envision her project at all. By the time I was finished going over everything she was so happy and loved it – before and after the project was installed.
Jan: What are the top challenges that homeowners in your area face when they want to enjoy living outdoors?
Ellen: I think one of the biggest challenges the typical homeowner faces in my area is topography. We have a lot of “hills and dales” – flat pieces of property are rare. Whether designing the front of the property or the rear, retaining walls are usually required which can greatly increase the cost of the project. The changes in topography though can give a landscape designer an interesting canvas to work from and the results can be quite beautiful.
Another challenge homeowners will encounter here is the high deer population and their voracious appetites. It’s imperative to design deer-resistant landscapes in this area if you don’t want to see the investment in your landscape get eaten away.
Jan: What do you say about living with wildlife such as deer?
Ellen: Deer-resistant landscapes have become second nature to me at this point. There are enough wonderful plants for me to use so that I can design a pretty, all season, deer-resistant landscape. It’s what I’ve done for the past twenty years now.
Jan: What can a homeowner do when they live on a slope?
Ellen: With the right design, you can enjoy anywhere you live. For a homeowner who lives on a sloped piece of property, I could design retaining walls to terrace the property and create multi-levels or just one level – it all depends on what the homeowner is looking for. There could be an area for a patio, a pool, a yard – the possibilities are limited to what their desires are, the land and their budget.
Jan: What changes have you seen since your graduation from Colorado State?
Ellen: So many more hardscape materials are available today than were in the past. Paver stone and block wall choices keep growing and improving and clients love the look of the walkways, walls, fire pits, pillars, etc., that are designed using these materials. There are so many wonderful lighting choices and water features to choose from. It’s much more fun designing today than it was years ago. Even if you’re just creating a new entry design, designing a pillar with a light “snaps-up” an entrance and clients love the result.
Jan: How long have you been practicing as a custom landscape designer?
Ellen: I have been designing residential and commercial landscapes for more than 30 years and my passion for design has not diminished or faltered. I love creating. I love meeting with new clients and helping them discover the potentials of their property. Whether it’s designing a beautiful front entry or a backyard garden oasis, each design is based on their needs and input and my years of experience. Every design is unique to their property and their criteria. Each environment is designed for them.
Negrin-Fessler designs custom landscapes in southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. To learn more about Ellen Negrin-Fessler and ENF Designs visit http://enfdesigns.com