Landscape Design & Refresh and Interview with Mario Nievera
By Ann Lally
Looking for Outdoor Inspiration? Look to Mario Nievera
Easygoing charm. Confidence comingled with humility. Mario Nievera exudes midwestern grounded, so it’s no wonder he is in such demand among people who are seeking either a new landscape design or a refresh of an existing outdoor area. I first met Mario when he was a featured speaker at a garden club meeting in Atlanta; his training at Purdue University and vast experience for someone so youthful contributed to his ‘street cred’ as he shared creative, practical insights and tips. Nievera Williams Design has locations in Palm Beach, Manhattan, and the Hamptons. Here’s our recent interview.
What should homeowners keep in mind first as they consider their yards and gardens?
This year it’s family. There’s an incredible bond of family that has defined what is necessary in the garden. I’ve always thought creating spaces for family is important, but I am witnessing it now more than ever. Think about play, nighttime, meals together, safety — like spraying for pests and pesticides, and making a pool secure.
What about overall appearance and takeaway?
Beauty for sure is an expectation because everyone is laser focused on how to make the garden pretty all year long. People are going to stay focused on this notion. We see it in real estate with more focus on suburbs, country, and beach. People are not rushing back to their former lives. Americans are social! And we want our outdoors to be an extension of that family room.
How is that approach playing out?
At same time, everyone will cherish their family time and never forget what we’ve been through with COVID. Creation of spaces that are multi–generational will be mainstays to both recreate AND relax. Maintenance is a not a big issue. Safety is. Pesticide–free is. And that’s a challenge, because now it’s all about organic and non-toxic spraying. Equally important is selecting plant material that doesn’t attract disease, or hamper pollinators. We spend considerable time studying and identifying native plants that enrich our pollinator population.
In Palm Beach, for example, the town council has changed requirements for plant material and irrigation usage. This has been a big surprise to many clients. Specific codes have changed, and we must consider and choose native plants that need minimal watering to meet compliance standards. It pushes us to be more creative than ever.
All landscape designs by Mario F. Nievera. Photos Credit: Michael Stavardis