Jeffrey is the principal designer for both JLIM Designs (interiors) and Garden Hortica (landscape).
Below is a conversation with Jeffrey Lim, principal designer. Here he talks about his approach and aesthetic for garden
How do you approach garden design with a client?
At the first onsite meeting, I try to establish the kind of aesthetic you want. Even better if you can share what you like and what you dont like...from pictures you have seen in
magazines or a tv show. Usually it is easier when you have an idea of what you want instead of no idea.
I like to know how you live. A look at your indoors tells a lot.
To be sure if you come to us it means you like our kind of aesthetic.
How many meetings or visits does it take before you come up with a design?
Believe it or not I can conceptualize a huge part of a garden design just from the first site visit.
Why use a garden designer?
Well most of us dont know where to begin or how to begin. Others have some knowledge. But because its our business we know much more...and we can save you time and money. Some
people think just watching a show makes them experts. Sure if you are getting some pots and putting some plants in them or planting a tree or shrubs. Does it give you the look?
I tell clients that good garden design will enhance your property value. And this is important in the Bay Area where property values are high.
For example you cannot put a Home Depot garden in a million dollar property! It devalues the whole property!
Do you have a certain style?
Yes I do...its the Jeffrey Lim style! And my style comes from what I've experienced, who has influenced me, what inspires me and this affects how I put the different
elements together. It's like a conductor for a symphony...all the elements have to work together...the hardscape, the garden art, the plants, the water feature....not just once but
day in day out for a pretty long time. Longevity in an installed garden is sometimes elusive.
What about maintenance?
We often get clients who say they want a low maintenance garden. Well, that's more realistic than NO maintenance! I mean we are dealing with plants for example...they grow, they die,
they get untidy, they need haircuts, they need nutrition and they need to be respected! And with water features like ponds most people underestimate their maintenance. Then you have
to ask yourself do you have time for it or can you afford to pay someone to do it?
Are there challenges?
Always. Every garden design poses a challenge to me. I'm my worst critic because I raise the bar for myself. I mean if you want the ordinary there's plenty of that around.
But to have a 'WOW' factor now that's challenging...
So does it mean you are expensive?
I tell clients there's a budget for every garden design. Sure it's great to have a huge budget but not all of us are Larry Ellison (Oracle) who can afford millions! But I've done
gardens with small budgets that satisfy the client.
Who or what inspires you?
Plants, rocks, all kinds of planters from all over the world. There are so many great garden designers whose work I like....Jaime Durrie, Made Wijaya, Raymond Jungles, Bill Bensley, Ng Sek
Sun and so many others. I like their non-pedestrian approach to garden design.