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NYBG Certified Residential / Commercial Landscape Designer

Mark Gilliland, based in Irvington, NY, is a visual artist and graphic designer turned landscape designer. He has been a life-long gardener, stone wall builder and wildlife enthusiast.

He has a degree in fine art from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as certification in landscape design from the New York Botanical Garden where he teaches in the Landscape Design school. He is a member of the NYBG LDSA (Landscape Design Student and Alumni Association) and is a Cornell Master Gardener (Westchester, 2006).

Mark is also an active volunteer in his local village, serving on the Irvington Beautification Committee, the Climate Protection Task Force and Tree Policy working groups, the Environmental Conservation Board and the Irvington Tree Commission. He opened his landscape design firm, Garden Artistry, in 2004. Resumé (pdf).

"Landscape is a kind of sculpture, with the environment as material. Plants provide a living palette of hues, shapes, textures and scent, a performance that plays out between the seasons and across the years."

Design Approach

Whether designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important to be able to organize space so there can be beauty, interest and utility. My goal is to create places of sanctuary and repose, a compelling environment at once natural and manmade, functional and aesthetically pleasing to you. An integrated composition of walls, walks, patios, natural features and planting beds.

I select plant materials based upon bloom and foliage colors, size, shape and texture to create a sense of rhythm, surprise and sometimes even amazement. By selecting plants that have exciting fruit, twig shape or bark, the garden landscape can be appealing through all four seasons as well as provide habitat for birds and butterflies that will delight you all year long.

Even when creating something as self-contained as a planter, my designs favor exciting mixtures of leaves, color and bloom, combining both new and tried-but-true annuals and perennials.

I love to garden and to share my horticultural experience and knowledge with you so that you may also feel free to embrace the process of maintaining and growing your garden landscape.

I place a high priority on environmental awareness, aiming for low maintenance, minimal application of chemicals - perfering an organic approach uilizing compost and natural controls - and responsible water use including rain gardens and other forms of stormwater management. I select plant materials appropriate to your site's micro-climates, utilizing a range of native materials, traditional selections and the newest, hardiest cultivars. The goal is to achieve an ecosystem which will support a healthy mix of native birds, butterflies & insects and micro-fauna, thus creating a vital, low-care landscape.

The New American Gardening - Sustainable Design Guidelines

  • Preserve and Create Wildlife Habitat
  • Preserve and Infiltrate Water
    • rain barrels
    • rain gardens
    • reparian buffer zones
    • meadows, wetlands and vernal ponds
    • trees and woodlands
  • Limit Disturbance of the Native Landscape
  • Habitat-based Plant Selection
  • Community-based Plant Composition
  • Remove Invasives and Weeds
  • Let Gardens Evolve Naturally Over Time

Rather than trying to control every aspect of the landscape through labor intensive effort, relax and form a dynamic partnership with nature - allow unexpected surprises! Embrace change. Don't expect every year to be a repeat of the previous. Let the plants decide themselves where to re-seed, which mico-environment best suits them (such as when as a perennial gradually shifts its position in the bed.) Encourage volunteers and native re-growth. Selectively cull to maximize ecological diversity while eliminating weeds & invasives. Watch and learn from our plant teachers.

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all materials copyright 2005-2010 Mark Gilliland