Saturday, January 29, 2022

GardenDC Podcast Episode 89: Working with a Landscape Designer

In this episode, we talk with award-winning designer Susan Cohan about working with a landscape designer. The plant profile is on hellebores and I share some upcoming local events.

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Show Notes: 1:25 Meet Susan! 2:15 “I spent 10 or 12 years living in Manhattan…”, Susan, on sharing her childhood and background 3:20 “Beyond that, I was always interested in design…” Susan, how her career took a turn as a gardener 4:34 “Particularly landscape design and landscape architecture education is structured…” Susan, on her educational journey as a landscape designer 8:06 Susan talks about the early stages of her career 9:27 “I am a New Jersey native…” Susan talks about her hometown and residency in other areas throughout her life 11:02 Susan talks about her metal degree 13:12 “I am a member of APLD…” Susan, on her organization and field trips to gardens 16:24 Susan defines “garden designer”, “landscape designer”, and “landscape architect” 18:58 Susan talks about designers she admires in each field 21:45 “I like to have a very strong structure…” Susan, on her taste in design 22:55 “The owners and the caretakers of whatever it is that I’m designing, can be in it, not just look at it.” -Susan 25:35 “My energy, focus, and time was so much different…”, Susan, on her history of garden management 26:15 Susan talks about the procedure of working with a designer 30:27 Susan talks about platforms to find good designers 32:04 “We team up with a couple of architects…”, Susan, on working with architects and interior designers 32:40 “Another really great place that people don’t think of is instagram” Susan, on utilizing social media sites to expand your network 33:35 Susan talks about the importance of getting to know your designer 34:47 “The way to think about your total landscape is to think about it in 15-20% of your home and property’s value over time” Susan, on the financial aspects of landscape design 36:02 “Your best investment is going to be in a really, great, functional, conceptual landscape plan that you can then implement in stages.” -Susan 37:40 “From a new construction blank slate…” Susan, on the process of landscape designing with a client 40:14 “Each project is different and unique, and every piece of property is different and unique, and has its own problem and inherent beauty.” -Susan 40:32 “There are two things in the pandemic that everybody wanted…” Susan, on trends in what the clients are looking for 42:16 “Ninety percent of all landscape improvements and home improvements in general, are instigated by the female partner” Susan, on how partners cooperate in making decisions 46:17 “when we draw our plans, we draw it at five years…” Susan, about the period of time for the garden maturity 47:01 “We are a transient culture that moves at will.” -Susan 49:03 “The outside space becomes another usable…” Susan, on how to maximize the space for landscape 50:40 “Trust your designer…” Susan, on the client-designer relationship 52:08 “It is a two-way street, both of you should be working on a collaboration to get the ultimate garden at the end.” -Kathy 52:32 Plant profile: Hellebore – a tough plant that is drought-tolerant, thrives in shade, and is deer-resistant. 54:02 Check out editor Kathy Jentz’s new book “The Urban Garden” with Teri Speight on how to grow a garden on a budget! 55:00 Updates on Kathy’s gardens and upcoming local gardening news including the local orchid displays at the Smithsonian 56: 25 Kathy’s upcoming talks on Homestead Gardens

The episode is posted at:

The GardenDC podcast is also available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Show Notes: Hojung Ryu


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