Introducing one of the women behind our magic! We chatted with Tilly designer, Lulu, to hear about what inspires her, garden mistakes that drive her crazy, and how she has room in her apartment for over 20 plants! She also shared some amazing home decor shopping finds filled with treasures that we can’t get enough of! Find out more below and feel free to comment with any questions. 

Why did you want to be a landscape designer?

I grew up in a household that was devoted to understanding the natural environment. As a landscape architect, I believe we have a responsibility to understand the influence of human life on natural processes, cycles, and systems to create the best possible solutions.

Where did you grow up and how did it influence your designs? 

I was raised in Colorado, I grew up in St. Croix, I studied in Florida, I gained experience in New York, and I now reside in Indiana. Living in different places and traveling has greatly impacted the way I design and see the built environment and natural world. 

Biggest garden mistakes you frequently see in homeowner’s curb appeal? 

Spacing, I love a full garden! Usually, the bare minimum is done for new-build projects and I love working with clients to help them envision a fuller, more vibrant garden.  

Where do you draw inspiration? 

I draw inspiration from art and architecture. I love patterns, materials, textures, color, and composition. 

Favorite garden style? 

Naturalist and modern. Though kind of contradictory, these two styles are the perfect match! 

In your opinion, what’s the most beautiful place you have ever visited? 

Such a tough question! Based on my experiences, I have narrowed it down to two places, St. Croix and Switzerland. I called St. Croix home for four years and have a personal connection with the crystal-clear waters and verdant landscape. The island and its people are so beautiful. My sister lives in Switzerland and I have been out to visit on multiple occasions, I lose my breath every time.  

How many plants do you have in your home? 

I have a one-bedroom apartment with 20+ plants! 

Would you rather mulch all day or prune all day? 

I would rather prune. I love a good challenge and I find there is more technique and knowledge needed for pruning. Also, it is sort of like cutting hair 😊.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

After moving from NYC to Indiana, I decided to try my hand at a vegetable garden. I reserved a 22’ x 45’ plot at the Community Garden and got to work! It’s hard work, but the benefits are substantial.  For me, gardening relieves stress, is a great way to get some physical activity, and it’s rewarding to grow your own food.

What’s your favorite part about Tilly? 

I love the forward-thinking approach and collaborative nature of Tilly. It is great to be part of a team that pushes the boundaries of design work done outside of a traditional office. Though most work is done remotely, I engage with the Tilly team on a daily basis through email, calls, and chat messages. I am honored and feel empowered to be part of a company with strong (fully) female leadership!

What’s been one of your favorite Tilly projects and why?

Each project is so unique, it is hard to choose a favorite! I love meeting new clients and working with them to develop a design that fits within site challenges, distinct climates, and varying budgets. 

What’s the one thing people get wrong about your profession most often? 

There are many paths you can take with a degree in Landscape Architecture. It is not uncommon to think Landscape Architects solely provide residential garden design. Before Tilly, I was working for a large firm in NYC and working at many different scales with projects ranging from waterfronts, public parks and plazas, resiliency, and green infrastructure. Landscape architects work at the scale of a city and the scale of a residential home. 

Favorite home/decor store? 

I love small independent design stores. Check out Hoppe Shoppe, Concrete Love, and Dusen Dusen, so many good patterns!! 

Favorite food? (Just because, who doesn’t want to hear about food). 

My husband’s heritage is both Cuban and Puerto Rican, so over the years, he has introduced me to incredible dishes. One of my favorite dishes is a traditional chicken stew from Puerto Rico called, Chicken Fricassee. 

We have found the Tilly process to be most successful on properties less than an acre.

A major part of remote design is understanding a property’s existing conditions and limitations. To do this we generally use the primary structure (usually the house) as the main point of reference. The greater distances are from from the house the less successful we are at understanding your property. No matter what the size of your property, the more information you can provide us, the better. Don’t be shy with the pictures! And please send along any and all architectural or property plan documents you can.

Still have questions? Contact us!