Frederico Azevedo On How 2020 Brought Sustainability And Landscaping Trends To The Fore

by Freya Drohan

Spending time in a beautiful garden is both therapeutic and transformative. Just ask Unlimited Earth Care’s Frederico Azevedo. The award-winning landscape artist—responsible for some of the most captivating spaces in the Hamptons and beyond—is permanently inspiring people to take pride in their outdoor surroundings. Up next on his ever-expanding to do list: a stunning new f lower market, opening next spring at his Bridgehampton HQ. The Daily caught up with the sustainability-minded expert to get some green thumb tips of our own.

What was your proudest achievement of 2020?
Unlimited Earth Care broke ground on the construction of our new modern extension, a flower market opening in spring/summer 2021. Sustainability is everything at Unlimited Earth Care, and I’m hoping that the flower market will encourage people to buy native and well-adapted plant and flower varieties. It will give me the opportunity to teach people about the benefits of sustainable gardening. Also, my daughter got a new puppy named Gus this spring, and he has brought us such happiness and excitement. Even our 12-year-old golden retriever, Lapo, became a puppy again!

How else did you and your family stay creative?
We always “move” outside in the summer—coming inside only to sleep! There’s always a way to enjoy nature; we spent time together cooking, swimming, and playing with the dogs. It was a wonderful way to keep anxiety at bay and stay creative. We all have to keep moving forward together. The passing of the seasons has been comforting and a great motivator—watching the leaves browning and floating down to cover the last of the fall blooms, unaware of the turmoil in the world.

Unlimited Earth Care, Bridgehampton

Did you discover any hidden gems in the Hamptons?
Our Sunday ritual was dinner at Sunset Beach in Shelter Island, but this year it was closed. We missed our friends there, as well as the cooking, so we went to see Eddy [the chef] at Chateau Marmont, where we had a special dinner. We discovered the new Duryea’s Orient Point, which is a wonderful place accessible by boat or by a drive along the water and past the picturesque lavender fields and vineyards of the North Fork. The restaurant serves delicious seafood and is beautifully designed and even has a private beach with an extensive lounge. It feels as if you’ve arrived in Mykonos!

Do you think more people took an interest in their gardens this year?
Yes, no question about it. There’s a great deal of research into the therapeutic benefits of viewing and experiencing nature, and gardens specifically. I’m always designing to bring my clients’ lives outside to help them relax and relieve stress. Everyone works too hard. Clients from years ago are calling me to talk about how they’ve never experienced their trees in bloom before, and how the chance to spend time in their gardens has brought them the comfort they needed.

What other trends did you see?
Vegetable gardens were popular this year, but the biggest shift I’ve seen is the amount of time and effort people are putting into their outdoor spaces now— both commercial and personal. This new reality has nudged us all outside and encouraged us to reimagine the spaces we live, work, and relax in. As a garden and landscape designer, this is my specialty; both new and old clients have reached out to discuss what they can do to optimize the therapeutic and practical aspects of their outdoor spaces.

Frederico Azevedo, Founder, Unlimited Earth Care, Author

Do you think sustainability will become increasingly front of mind for people?
I don’t see how it could go any other way; the past few years have made the effects of climate change an increasingly urgent and undeniable reality. Sustainability starts at home—by choosing native and well-adapted plants that attract and aid helpful visitors like bees, birds, and butterflies. They are the tireless workforce of our ecosystems. Every year, I discover new sustainable materials for gardening accessories and furniture, and I make an effort to keep updated ecofriendly offerings in my Garden Concept Store.

Your book, Bloom: The Luminous Gardens of Frederico Azevedo, has been a great success. Any plans to write another?
I’m always thinking about what could be published next. I’ve often thought that some of the chapters in the book could become books of their own. I have a lot more to say, and many gardens to say it in. Did you find writing therapeutic? Maybe reflective is the right word. I examined the more technical conditions of garden and landscape design, which is at the center of everything when you’re designing with living things. The process of considering my work in a contemplative way became a productive practice for me.

Where will you be spending the winter months?
This year, because of the circumstances, I won’t be spending time shopping in Europe. I will, however, be spending some time in St. Barth’s for the holidays before heading to my apartment in South Beach for a bit. In February, I’ll be catching up with my daughter in Los Angeles.

What do you love about spending time in Florida?
We love Miami—its culture and sunshine. I’ve had an apartment in South Beach since 1998; my kids, Livia and Lorenzo, grew up vacationing there. The Art Deco architecture really lends Miami that classic feeling— alight in neon at night and glowing more softly in pastels by day! We have fond memories of swimming in the ocean, rollerblading down boardwalks lined with swaying palm trees, and biking across Miami Beach. We love to eat at Cecconi’s, especially for Sunday brunch, which is usually followed by shopping at the antique market on Lincoln Road. We also like to have breakfast at Rosetta Bakery and visit exhibitions at the Bass and Pérez art museums.

And, of course, the gardens?
Visiting the gardens is the thing to do in Miami. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has an incredible collection of rare and endangered orchids and does incredible horticultural research and conservation. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens—the former estate of James Deering—has particular significance to me. Vizcaya has incredible villas and gardens brimming with native and subtropical compatible foliage. Visiting there represented a change in the way I pursued the things I wanted in my life and career. Seeing Deering’s life and what he accomplished on his own, I understood how we have to learn to rely on ourselves, and to never give up on what we want. My children loved it there when they were young, lifting lizards off of heavy leaves and watching dragonflies buzz through the mangroves. It will always be a special place to us.

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