Russell Greey is an esteemed landscape architect and designer. Together with his business partner, Wendell Pickett, their firm Greey | Pickett excels at delivering custom land planning, architectural theming, landscape architecture, and development strategy services to realize the vision of their clients. The company’s success is derived from a literal hands-on approach both in the office when they draw their designs on the drawing board as well as on site when the living landscape inspires gardenscapes to take new shape.
Team DSC® was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Russell Greey who was recently awarded 2016 Master of the Southwest by Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. We learned how he and his team cultivate and nourish the unique vision of their clients to thrive beyond their grandest expectations.
REALIZING THE VISION
CREATE THE CONNECTION
We believe a collaborative working relationship between the client and the team is essential to outstanding design solutions. To be able to create a cohesive, artistic and functional design we really have to get to know the client. More often than not, they are unsure of what they want, or perhaps they have many different inspirational design concepts. It’s essential to understand the needs of the client, respect the constraints of the land, and honor the design of their home.
Together with partners like Desert Star Construction, we go through the process of helping our clients define their vision. Our goal is to hear what the client needs, offer ideas they may never have dreamed of, and always exceed expectation.
GET THE BUILDER INVOLVED EARLY ON
A lot of times we’re working on a project before the builder, because the client will hire us at the beginning of a project to start the landscape design process. In my experience, I find it’s best to get a builder like Desert Star involved at the early stages of the project. The benefit of working with a prestigious and experienced builder such as Desert Star is their ability to oversee the project and their vast knowledge to implement our creative design.
Recently, Team DSC® helped navigate a critical design element by arranging a 700-ton crane to lift a 25-foot specimen tree over a house and into the perfect location in the client’s backyard.
Another great benefit of teaming with Desert Star Construction from the beginning of a project is their ability to help quantify the unique design aspects of the project. This gives us the opportunity to determine with the entire team where the budget will be best utilized, while preserving the integrity of our design.
ON THE DRAWING BOARD
I love to draw and to create unique and inspiring designs. With the aid of computers and advancing technology in our industry, I find that younger landscape architects forget to take the time to put pencil to paper.
I believe what’s being lost when a computer takes over the entire design process is the fluidity and the creativity that comes with the act of drawing. I’ll put hundreds of lines on a paper before I find the exact geometry I want. The final product may come from the computer, but the design, the concept, the overall feeling we want to portray comes from the lines drawn. The computer is more restrictive in that you have to figure out what you want before you draw it. Many designers today are unable to sketch and enjoy the creative process.
In our profession you now have to be strong in both your right-brain and left-brain. You should be technologically advanced, and you have to be artistic.
LIVING INSIDE OUT
We are very fortunate to live in Arizona, where for many months of the year we can open our doors and have an entire natural living space as the immediate extension of our homes. Many clients are designing homes with oversized sliding or accordion glass doors that create an indoor-outdoor feel. To be effective, the landscape design has to offer a seamless transition.
To create that transition, a lot of times with our residential projects you’ll see me out in the field, carrying plants and adjusting details as the project unfolds. I’ve always been very hands-on because what I do in landscape architecture is very visual. The space is not just about creative design – it’s also about lasting livability. Because of this, hunting for and discovering great specimens, creating an eye catching feature, and being able to design on the fly once we are on site is essential to the process.
For example, if I find a specimen organ pipe cactus on a client’s property, I’ll salvage it and make it a focal point in the design. . The best projects I’ve done always remained flexible.
A TIMELESS REWARD
What I hope to do for my clients is evoke an emotional connection with their home and their outdoor space. I want them to be able to spend quality time with their friends and family for years to come. What I aim for is that when they go outside, it never gets dated and it never gets old – it is timeless. It’s very rewarding to see our clients get caught up in the emotion of seeing the finished project. We hope to offer ideas they didn’t even know they could dream of and to realize their vision beyond their greatest expectations.
GREEY | PICKETT and TEAM DSC®
“The wealth of knowledge that Team DSC® brings to their projects is admirable and essential to a successful project. Like Greey | Pickett, we find that Team DSC® is continuously searching for innovative, reliable, and quality products and building techniques. Their insight on the millions of product options and their ability to hone in on the best sources have added great value to projects.
What I also appreciate about collaborating with Desert Star Construction is the professional leadership and personable environment they bring to the project. I am often told that my calm and methodical approach to design is refreshing. I see myself as an artistic problem solver and my leadership follows that philosophy. I always appreciate and admire the leadership of Team DSC® and Jerry Meek. There is great enjoyment for the client and the design team when the leadership sets high standards.”