Gardens of Buena Vista

By Sara Edi Boyd, Buena Vista Life Magazine

buena vista gardens and entryI attended the University of Georgia to study with one of the nation’s leading wildflower experts, Darren Morrison, Dean of the School of Environmental Design. It turns our that as I was finishing my studies, Jeff Allen was beginning his landscape architecture studies at UGA. So, while we were classmates, Jef was the right age for someone embarking on a new career and work of a lifetime. Landscape architecture is a lot about engineering, drainage and grading, as well as creative design. I really only excelled at the design part, where Jeff excelled at all the demands of the left/right brain thinking that truly great landscape architecture demands.

Fortunately for us, Jeff lives in our neighborhood, and has designed and managed the installation of many of our most beautiful BV gardens. His landscape architecture firm is JALA, Jeff Allen Landscape Architecture. He has graciously agreed to share a couple of his design with us in this issue. Later, we will showcase more of his gardens-promise. Jeff’s focus is “classical” design. This means that he uses principles of symmetry and control, while celebrating the natural forms in nature. His designs respond to the needs and desires of the family, whether it’s outdoor kitchens, swimming, formal walks or perennial displays, while creating outdoor spaces that encourage reflection and inspiration.

We struggled over which of his BV gardens to include in this issue, and I am sure you will agree, that we are blessed to have his gifts. If you are lucky enough to live in a Jeff Allen designed garden, I want to come over for cocktails and enjoy it with you one evening!

I asked Jeff to share with us what he thinks about as he approaches a garden design in BV, and what his experience has been here. I loved his response, and thought I’d end this piece with the philosophy of his firm, JALA.

Jeff’s Perspective: “We love working in Buena Vista because it has such a rich and diverse collection of beautifully designed and crafted homes. These homes were built during a rich design era between the late 19th and early 20th century. We use classical models from this era to inform our designs. With this approach, we devise aesthetic functional outdoor spaces that create unity between house and gardens.

“We work with our clients throughout the design process with the ultimate goal of creating spaces that speak to who they are and become endearing landscapes for future generations. We accomplish this by listening to the needs and desires of our clients and then carefully forming a garden master plan that sets the general arrangement of each element. Our strength lies in providing drawings and imagery that illustrate intent and allow homeowners to make informed decisions.”