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Landscape Design

A Passion for Creating Resort Style Backyards

Scott Cohen's outdoor escapes combine art with landscaping

Scott Cohen, Landscape Designer & Garden Artisan.

Scott Cohen, of The Green Scene, an L.A. based landscape design and construction firm, has come a long way over the years. At only fifteen he opened his own landscape maintenance business, a year later he began working at a Target garden center, where he quickly worked his way up to regional manager. Next, deciding to focus on his artistic side, Cohen went to college and majored in ceramics. For the past twenty three years, he has been working with The Green Scene, a place where he can combine his passion for landscaping with his artistic abilities.

Cohen specializes in creating resort style backyards. Many of them feature gorgeous pools, fire features and well executed outdoor lighting.

Cohen and his team specialize in creating resort style backyards. He enjoys helping his clients feel like they are on vacation when they step out their back door. "Often people think we specialize in pools or outdoor kitchens, but really I believe that it's never just one thing - you have to think about night-lighting, views from inside and outside the home, as well as anchoring the space with a fire feature or fountain," Cohen says.

Depending on what his clients want, different elements become the star of the landscape. "If a pool is on the list of desired amenities, we create a custom design that not only provides a place to cool off and play, but also a display of artistic effects created with water, light, color and sound," he explains. Don't worry, if a pool isn't on your list, you still get the artistic effects, only they come in the form of an outrageous outdoor kitchen or a stunning fireplace.

Each of the swimming pools created by The Green Scene are custom designed and built with artistic effects in mind.

Inspiration for such beautiful and livable spaces is not hard to come by for Cohen. "I spend hours drawing sketches and literally have a vault of ideas," he says. When a client comes to him he can use these sketches as a starting point. In reference to how he determines a client's wants and needs, Cohen says, "It's rare for a client to come to me and say I want X, so I have to guide them to a complete idea and vision for the space." This process consists of getting to know the clients hobbies, favorite vacation spots and even their pets. He then combines these aspects with their home's architecture and available space to generate a thematic design style, such as tropical, contemporary or Asian.

In 2011, Cohen predicts seeing more spaces like this one - complete with a fireplace, TV, oversized patio furniture, ceiling fan and an outdoor sound system.

Outdoor Shower Design

Time / 00:52

A unique winery inspired outdoor shower

For a client that particularly enjoys wine, Cohen created an outdoor shower that incorporated 450 wine bottles and an old wine barrel. Cohen thinks of this type of project as especially cool because, "It expresses the homeowner's personality, while being sustainable since all the bottles were recycled." Cohen believes that any well-thought out landscape design should incorporate as many recycled materials as possible. Additionally, Cohen has his own ceramics studio at his home and has created custom tiles, sculptures and melts for clients looking for a completely unique outdoor accent.

Cohen also finds inspiration by staying connected to others in the landscaping industry, as well as attending shows and seminars. He attributes the success of The Green Scene to his hardworking team that is constantly working on their growth and development. "We push each other each and every week to learn new things and become the best at what we're already doing," he states.

In relation to the future of the landscaping industry and The Green Scene, Cohen has a few predictions. He sees outdoor rooms becoming even more popular in 2011 and thinks that this means people will want even more outdoor furniture that is bigger and nicer. "It's no longer about a chaise lounge or two, people are going to want outdoor beds, coffee tables, fireplaces and even TVs - essentially the outdoor room will have everything for entertaining that the indoors has," Cohen predicts. Right now, Cohen and the rest of The Green Scene team view outdoor sound as their last frontier. "We believe that outdoor sound systems are one thing that have not fully migrated outdoors, and are in the process of exploring how outdoor sound can be used to enhance the atmosphere of entertaining gardens," he explains.

Here are a three tips Cohen has for homeowners based off of the most common questions he hears:

  • "How long will the project take?"
    Tip: Start early. It's better to wait on an excellent product than to rush and get a mediocre product. If you have a party coming up soon and want your yard to be top notch, consider simply, quick updates and do the big stuff later when you aren't pressed for time.

  • "Will the actual cost be the same as the proposed cost?"
    Tip: Make sure you know what you want from the start. Spend a considerable amount of time gathering ideas, comparing materials and reviewing the design, this way you'll be less likely to make changes during construction. Also make sure you are realistic about your available budget with yourself and your landscaper from the beginning.

  • "Is it expensive to have you landscape my yard?"
    Tip: Think about quality workmanship and your cost overtime. Often spending more up front will actually save you money, or even make you money by increasing your property value. Also, one way to save money on your landscaping project is to install affordable 5 or 15 gallon plants, while you will have to be patient for a few years, the plants will fill in and look every bit as good as if you had installed the expensive mature ones.

Read articles written by Scott Cohen - topics include backyard sports and landscape lighting.

Scott Cohen, Landscape Designer & Garden Artisan
The Green Scene
Northridge, CA

Contributing Author:

Sarah Hutchinson, contributing writer for Landscaping Network


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