Interview with Landscape Designer Scott Bryon

For the 30 years BGD&C Custom Homes has been building in and supporting the local communities of the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, so has our long time collaborator, Scott Byron & Co., been beautifying the area with their gorgeous, engaging landscape designs. We are excited to spotlight Scott Byron, CEO of Scott Byron & Co., who has over 40 years of experience in design, construction, maintenance, and project management. Byron’s goal is to create the most positive end result for the client, while “making sure the land is properly preserved and the design is complimentary to the architecture and setting”.

When should the client engage a landscape designer? 

SB: When building a new home, a client may want to consult with a landscape designer at the very start. A landscape designer will help unify the architectural elements linking the interior to the outdoor experience. A designer will also help establish budgets and timelines for development.

What is your process?

SB: It is very crucial for us to get to know our clients. We want to learn what is important. Once we understand their vision, we need to understand the site conditions. After all the data is collected and the survey is built, we collaborate with a team of architects, engineers and designers to generate ideas and establish a budget to present to our client. We’ll continue to refine the ideas though construction development engaging the proper consultants. During construction our design and project management team work together to manage the schedule and budget to ensure our client’s vision comes to life.

Do you often collaborate with architects, designers and builders?  

SB: We do. Projects that are built as a team are often very successful. Creativity and ideas become very dynamic when each of us contributes their expertise.

Do you offer design and maintenance? 

SB: Yes. Many sites in Chicago have some very exciting design opportunities along with many challenges. Offering special maintenance programs ensure a successful garden.

What are some of your favorite plantings to use downtown Chicago? 

SB: Because we live in an area where the landscape could be dormant for over 8 months it’s important to integrate evergreens to maintain the structure of the garden. Arborvitae hedges provide privacy from the neighboring lot and boxwood hedges unify the space. Layering in shrubs, perennials and annual planters brings the garden alive.

What are some challenges of designing urban gardens in Chicago? 

SB: One of the major challenges is sequencing and scheduling construction. It’s very important to assemble the team prior to the build to keep open lines of communication for coordination of the production schedule.

What are tricks you use to make a new construction home feel like the plantings have been there for years? 

SB: The trick is using large mature plants which may be challenging to get them in some tight spots. The result is a garden that looks like it’s had a few years to grow in. It’s very important to prescribe a maintenance program to keep mature plants healthy.

Does landscaping have trends and if so, what are some current trends you are noticing? 

SB: A major trend is developing spaces that connect the indoor to the outdoor experiences. Many homes have opportunities for outdoor spaces on a roof terrace for entertainment, dining, gardening and exercise. It’s very exciting setting up a space to enjoy the view of our magnificent skyline.

What are “must-have” spaces in most urban landscapes? 

SB: Must haves include spaces for people to connect to the outdoors. This may include fire pits, grill centers, active play areas, urban gardening or simply a space to enjoy a good book.

Our lives seem to be run by technology these days. How does technology get integrated into landscape design?

SB: We see more and more smart technology integrated in the garden. This includes lighting a fire pit from a swipe of a phone to remote control of the irrigation system. Lighting, sound and automatic locks are tied into the “smart” home system.

Please visit Scott Byron & Co.’s website for more inspiration.

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