“Better Garden, Bigger Life”

HO: Landscape Designer Adam Robinson’s mantra are wise words to live by. At Harbour, almost everything we do revolves around making the most of nature, and treating the outdoors as your main living room. The benefits of nature are endless, from the beauty it bestows upon us, to the therapeutic qualities that immersing yourself in it can have, any garden, even a small one, is a one of life’s simplest pleasures. It was only we are natural that we became very big fans of Adam’s philosophical and harmonious work.

We feel that with greenery, there is no amount that is too big or too small. From lush backyards to small urban spaces, Adam can turn an average balcony into a verdant oasis. We picked his brain on all things outdoor living and design; from bringing plant life indoors, to dirty color palettes, and finding the perfect “four-hour chair”, his answers did not disappoint.

HO: How did you come to do Landscape Design?

AR: I have always loved styling and design for as long as I can remember and always knew what my career path would be.  At the age of 16 I redecorated my own bedroom, making it the smartest room in the family home.  My parents were so impressed they then got me to redesign our kitchen, living room and garden!  Once I’d pushed my focus out to the garden, I discovered a true love for the outdoors and nature.  It felt grounded and healing to me and I really discovered a propensity for garden design and I’ve never looked back.

HO: How do you strike a balance between ‘livable’ outdoor space and the greenery? 

AR: I design for functionality and comfort outdoors to maximize living and lifestyle close to nature in one’s own home. I think of it in the same way you would design a room indoors, except outside, plants can become your floors, walls, ceiling, curtains – nature forms the room. A lot depends on how the client wants to live outside.

HO: How much does the natural state of the land inform your design?

AR: To give the garden a real sense of place, the design begins with the natural lay of the land, the surrounding environment and existing trees, rocks and plants etc… you decide what stays and what goes, then you can start adding from there.

HO: Do you have certain plants or foliage that you love to use or is each garden a chance to explore new combinations of flora?

AR: I do love a big mature palm tree and laugh about how many I crane into gardens. I guess there is a bit of a Adam Robinson signature feel to our plant palettes in that I like to use strong architectural plants with interesting contrasting foliage colours and textures.  I really like sculptural plants, natives and other drought tolerant species such as cactus and succulents. However, at the same time I do take into account any plants the client particularly likes and the type that suit the temperate zone and native environment. We like to think of local bees, birds and butterflies and provide habitat for them too! I love the reset feel once the garden is newly planted – a brand new oasis to help green the world.

HO: In your approach to landscape design, you’ve mentioned you aim to forge a relationship with the interior décor. Any insight on how you think one should relate to the other?  

AR: The interior décor should relate to the landscape design in as seamless a way as possible by drawing out similar materials, colors and style. Even lighting should complement. The two areas should harmonize as one and a supremely important element is that plants should help merge the boundary between inside and out by being let indoors!

HO: Color Consulting is one of your specialties: Talk to us about color. What can it do for you? What colors do you love most and why?

AR: I use darker, dirtier colors for a lot of the boundaries as these nestle nicely into our garden and allow the boundaries to recede.  I’m not afraid of color and adore punches here and there for bold personality. When you look at mother nature for color inspiration – there is nothing shy or timid about color in nature!

HO: What do you look for, as a consumer, when you’re shopping for a client?

AR: When I look at furnishing an outdoor space, comfort plays a big role.  I often talk about a half-hour chair versus a four-hour chair.  We are all about maximizing the amount of time our clients can enjoy living outdoors. But off course, style is high on the list too. The key to a garden that truly ‘sparks joy’ is perfect balance between good-looking and comfortable

HO: We know you’ve used Harbour in many of your projects and we would love to know what attracts you to our pieces.

The range is very extensive, made of quality materials, and I find the pieces so elegant, timeless and versatile to suit a large range of garden styles.  Clients always give me feedback on how comfortable the settings are.