Written by Elisabeth Dunham » Photos by Jason Kaplan
The way she tells it, Tara Verotsky was almost destined for a career in landscaping. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania with surrounding creeks and forest as her playground. “I was outside as much as possible and ‘played nursery’ by tagging plants in the yard,” she recalls.
“And I can thank my dad for suggesting I major in horticulture.”
Today as a garden designer for DeSantis Landscapes in Sherwood and Salem, Verotsky still spends a lot of time outside—but with a skill set that mixes her passion for garden design with a knack for working closely and efficiently with clients in order to create beautiful—and functional—outdoor spaces. “Calling upon my intuition and mediation techniques, along with making a confident initial impression, I’m able to secure my clients’ trust and translate their dreams into beautiful garden designs.”
We asked Verotsky to tell us a little bit more about her day to day life with DeSantis Landscapes, a 42-year-old, family-run business that is rooted heavily in sustainability.
What is a garden designer, and how did you become one?
Garden designers create plans for the landscape. We are able to survey the site and prepare scaled drawings for the development of a garden. We also source the plants and building materials. We are not able to draw construction details like landscape architects, but that is one of the benefits of working with a design-build firm like DeSantis Landscapes. The collaborative team approach that we take means lower design fees and a higher level of communication from concept to construction. My background is in landscape horticulture – half science and half design. I graduated from North Carolina State University before moving to Oregon in 2000.
What does your day-to-day look like at DeSantis Landscapes?
My job title is landscape designer/sales. I field all residential calls for landscape design and construction—from initial visits with clients to conceptual drawings to master plans.
What was the “before” like on the “veggie garden” Project, and what was the client hoping to achieve?
The family wanted to reduce their carbon footprint, remove the lawn and produce food for their family. They now harvest all the produce from the garden and prepare or preserve it. The area that currently occupies the raised garden beds was a flat lawn area that adjoined their hazelnut orchard. It now houses several curved, raised, Corten brand steel beds for vegetable production, a large arbor for growing kiwi and grapes, an herb garden, a recirculating fountain for bats and birds, and carefully selected blooming perennials that attract pollinators.
Can you give us an idea of what the step-by-step of this two-month project looked like?
Initially there were site surveys. Those were followed by conceptual drawings that were reviewed with the clients. The material selection and a scaled master plan completed the project. The clients were very involved on all levels as they are avid gardeners.
Tell us about Desantis Landscapes, your employer.
One of our core concepts includes “beautify the world.” This is the reason for our business, and it’s the key reason why many of us choose to do this work. This is also what drives our sustainable focus. A healthy world is a beautiful world. Another core concept is “treat people well.” Since 1974 our customers have enjoyed outstanding customer service and award-winning practices from our team of professionals.
Design Firm, DeSantis Landscapes » desantislandscapes.com