Designer Crush: Zeterre Landscape ArchitectureAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
Over the course of his two decade career, Jarrod Baumann has designed everything from jewel box cottage gardens and expansive estates to massive civic parks and boutique luxury resorts. As the CEO of Zeterre Landscape Architecture, Baumann and his team have completed projects around the country and throughout Europe and Asia. Drawing inspiration from the gardens of Lakes Maggiore and Como, as well as Lotusland Garden and Estate in Montecito, Baumann’s current work also calls upon his early years living in the foothills below Yosemite, studying native California plants. Learn more in our Q+A below.
1.How did you get your start in landscape architecture?I went into it kicking and screaming. I wanted to be a building architect but had this amazing secret garden as a kid with over 200 species of plants. My neighbor (and one of my best friends) insisted that I study and go into landscape architecture. Damn she was right!
2. How did growing up in the foothills below Yosemite influence your view of nature and design?The property that I grew up on, an over 800 acre ranch, had several places where things grew in mass, like an area that we called “Paradise Cove”. The entire hillside was a rocky slope with moss-covered boulders and hundreds of redbud. When every year it would bloom, it made me realize that planting in mass makes spectacular show and make very special spaces. Meadows carpeted with one single type of flower or a single type of grass were some of the most magical places on our property. This simplicity is something I pull into our gardens. The older I get, the more I understand how special this is.
3. How do your frequent travels to Europe and Asia influence your work?I am constantly discovering techniques that master craftsmen throughout the generations have used. So many firms throughout the United States use the same details over and over again, say for a balustrade. But in Portugal, I learned that every single garden has a different style of balustrade. This is the type of work that we like to do at Zeterre, we don’t ever repeat those types of details, so we are constantly searching for new ideas to bring to our clients homes.
4. You have worn many hats as a former development and real estate agent, published artist, furniture designer, equestrian, and jewelry designer. How do all these ventures complement one another?Real estate and development helped me understand the business side of things as well that budgets are “real” . . . even though some of our clients don’t have them. In regard to the other, I am an artist and a creative – I can’t keep my hands off of designing, I am constantly creating beauty almost everywhere I go.
5. Describe a particularly memorable project.I have been on retainer since 2007 on one project in particular. It has been a collaboration between myself and someone now who has become one of my closest friends. She and I have created a masterpiece that is a private garden that few people have ever seen. It’s special beyond words because she and I did it together. We have a collection of rare plants from all over the world . . . I believe it has somewhere between 400 – 500 different species including over 4000 Hellebores.
6. If you could design a project for any celebrity, who would it be and what would you create?Not many people know this, but I really am super obsessed with and want to create an ice garden. I want to design a garden in the snow that celebrates icicles and frozen gardens. I have so many ideas for this! So, Lady Gaga, because she is almost as eccentric as I am! LOL! If I could convince her to let me design her an ice garden that would be my dream. I am obsessed with the beauty of icicles and snow and would love to create an art installation that celebrates how beautiful they both are, dependent on the elements. Say, when icicles are clear, because they have had the slow trickle versus how ice looks when you have that had an ice storm and it blows through. That would be so amazing.
7. Favorite plant/flower?I love Passiflora — Passion Vine . . . the rare ones.
8. Go-to karaoke song?“Damn Your Eyes” by Leela James.
9. Best Halloween costume?There was that one time I dressed up as a Jehovah’s Witness, which is really funny if you know the story. Or maybe it was that time I dressed up as a naughty matador!
10. Number one comfort food?Spaghetti, that I cooked myself.
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