River House Courtyard. Photo: Tom Moore.
Walking onto a site for the first time, I start processing what I see. I take note of my immediate impressions, watching how I instinctively negotiate my way around—what I choose to avoid, for instance, and where I choose to linger. I watch for views that catch my eye, where I feel exposed and where I feel protected. I am a detective searching for clues as to what has happened over time. How have natural forces shaped this place into the landscape that I see today? What traces remain of the people who have been here before me? All of this, I believe, is pre-existing on the land. It is my job as a landscape architect to find and then reveal these characteristics in compelling ways.
There is no specific style to the work at Susan Wisniewski Landscape; my designs, however, are typically understated and always contextual. Good, thoughtful design is balanced with environmental impacts. My goal is to combine the local ecology with the aspirations of my client, architectural elements, budgetary considerations and regional context, creating a unique response that will fit with place and people.
Overtime my approach continues to evolve. There is a shift toward less....and less again. Satisfaction can be found in a straight wall in front of an untouched view—striking every time. After all these years I still pause before making the decision to remove a tree or clear a section of land—is it worth it? Am I sure? I want to protect the land, create what is useful (it works) and beautiful (ease) and provide an element of joy (a smile). I want to do good work and work with people I like.