As landscape architects, we often find ourselves meeting people where they are in life. We engage with a client at a precise moment in time, for better or for worse, unknowing of the challenges or triumphs that have beset each of us. This past year, we found the art of listening to be more valuable than the gift of gab. We found consideration and empathy to be more important than speed or efficiency. We found that gratitude for our work and our relationships helped to make us better designers and better people.
Last year we lived through incredibly challenging times. Lives were upended. Relationships with extended family and friends were stressed. People were sick and scared. Yet in this moment of extreme uncertainty, we found the garden to be a tonic for fear and anxiety. We designed pools since local clubs were closed. We created terraces for gathering and pickleball courts for play. We planted colorful and textural gardens for exploration and enjoyment. The garden became one of the only places to gather safely, to talk, and to engage with the seasons, knowing that change always comes. Whether in the pool in July, around the firepit in September, or under the patio heaters with friends in December, we bonded in our gardens and shared our lives with those we love. This connection with nature and with each other has carried us through the darkest days of the coronavirus epidemic. Through it all, we realized, in both mundane and profound ways, that time is our most valued currency and that family and friends are our true treasure. And it was specifically the garden that helped us to reconnect and to persevere. It saved us, and it will save us again this spring when we step back outside to a new world full of health, opportunity, and healing.