Nature, Nurture, Naturally

Unlimited Earth Care founder Frederico Azevedo discusses landscape design, the power of legacy and palette of the East End.

Landscape design as a medium is shaped by an animated set of tools and methods. A landscape is movement and color, and I strive to form designs that balance my vision with the restless vision of the environment. I’d describe my approach as bringing intention to the unpredictability of nature in a way that creates something new, something that doesn’t feel entirely designed or entirely natural.

Sensitively curating the raw textures, colors and forms of native and well-adapted natural elements allows me to build landscapes that feel spontaneous. I give flowers, trees, moss and butterflies room to improvise within my design, and when you provide the right locus for these elements to perform together, they glow — you can feel it. I design to hold and heighten that feeling in a way that enhances people’s lives in the most sustainable way that I can.

I was drawn outside from a very early age, and I have many happy memories diligently tending my vegetable garden, arranging the plants in a way that I hoped would impress my family and yield delicious ingredients for my favorite dishes. My love for landscape design was further nourished by the Brazil that I came of age in, where public displays of stunning ecological projects were on the rise and figures like Roberto Burle Marx, Lota de Macedo Saores and Oscar Niemeyer were making their mark.

I’m an art collector and I love animation. People think of paintings when they think of landscape design, but I’ve always been drawn to animated landscapes, where an idea can be expressed in moving color — a heightened impression of the real. Particularly I’m inspired by the precise use of color to create mood in animated landscapes. I think a lot about how every color is going to interact, and how to curate that in a way that gestures towards a specific atmosphere. In animation the landscape contributes to the narrative, and I design gardens in much the same way, to enhance and contribute to the narrative of the home, of my clients’ lives. A garden can feel romantic, or even quiet, or entertaining, it’s all about building a story in color and texture.

It almost goes without saying that I’m inspired by the natural beauty of the East End. I’ve been all over the world, and there’s just no place like it. The soil is rich and fertile, the oceans are sparkling, the monarchs visit every year, and the wetlands are dense and full of life — for a landscape designer, it’s a full palette. When I was first considering settling here, I passed farm after farm driving around, and I took that as a sign that the plants I was hoping to design with could thrive here, that the land here was made to be alive and cared for.

All of my projects have been dream projects because building a career designing in such a beautiful place is what I wanted to do, but if I had to think of something that I would hope to work on in the future, I’d say a public project. A project that could be enjoyed and experienced by the public, is environmentally friendly, and does something to restore an area that needs to be cared for.

Legacy is important to me. My legacy is first and foremost my children, Lorenzo and Livia, who grew up in the Hamptons and I’m proud to say share my love of art and nature. I also hope to leave a legacy of colorful, thriving, sustainable gardens and landscapes on the East End. I’ve been contacted by graduate students in Brazil who wanted to write about my work as a landscape designer here, and it feels wonderful to have inspired another generation of young sustainable designers. I hope that Unlimited Earth Care has encouraged people to care for the environment and learn to love life outside.

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