One of the world’s most sought-after landscape designers, Keith Williams is the visionary behind stunning residential gardens from Palm Beach to the Bahamas and Shanghai, China. A master of his medium, Williams blends extravagant structural elements, rare and exotic plants and stylish furnishings to create perfect outdoor living spaces. He has recently launched his own outdoor product line, and is one of Ocean Home’s Top 50 Coastal Landscape Architects of 2017.
What’s your earliest garden design memory?
My mother, a master gardener, always had me working with her in our garden at home and would often take me to nurseries when I was young. I remember running around and admiring the plants and trees. They always seemed so big back then, and I remember the aroma from all of the fresh flowering plants.
Where do you find design inspiration?
Traveling is the best inspiration, and Italy to me is perfection; I always come home inspired and energized from a design standpoint. I also really admire the grand gardens in Scotland and France.
Who are your landscape design heroes?
Burle Marx, Thomas Churchill and Beatrix Farrand – all of them pioneers who created and developed new and unique styles and ways of thinking about landscape design.
What trends are you seeing in coastal landscapes?
Most clients now are very educated when it comes to landscapes. They understand the importance of creating sustainable gardens – and quite frankly, the most successful gardens on the coast are sustainable.
Major trends are material choices for sustainability and longevity. We are incorporating more natural materials such as ipe wood and coral and combining the two materials into a design element. We are also finding more high-tech irrigation systems that help to save water, and using plant materials that are more native and natural to their environment.
What’s the philosophy behind your designs?
We are creating living spaces and experiences; places that people can enjoy, whether it’s a pool, entertaining room or a place to dine. It is all about creating an outdoor environment that is pleasing to look at and easy to live in and enjoy.
What makes a great coastal home landscape?
Meeting a client’s expectations in terms of the proposed design intent and functional use. Protecting and preserving the surrounding environment as well as creating a cohesiveness between a home’s architecture and garden.
When and where are your products available?
My new product line will become available this year at Pennoyer Newman, pennoyernewman.com.
What’s the most important advice you give clients?
Don’t be afraid. Dream a little; imagination let loose can lead to great designs. Spend the money on good materials. Preparation is key to a successful design and its implementation. Always do your homework; there are some great resources online. Oh, and always hire a professional.
Image Credits: PHOTOGRAPH BY Chris Salata/CAPEHART.