Creating beautiful landscapes is second nature to Frederico Azevedo, founder of Bridgehampton-based Unlimited Earth Care, which this summer celebrates 30 years in business.
Azevedo, who studied landscape design in his native Brazil, England, and the U.S., creates each design by composing a view, with an eye towards scale and detailed layering.
“I begin by choosing the farthest point to which I intend to draw the eye,” Azevedo says.
Once he’s found a focal point, he then considers which large trees would work well there: cedars, spruces, Leyland cypress, pines, or arborvitaes.
“Evergreens provide a grand framework for the rest of the garden and keep it colorful and hospitable to birds through winter,” he explains.
Creating timeless colorful designs for three decades in the Hamptons, Azevedo has come to really know its diverse and fragile environments, and has endeavored to add thriving and beautiful landscapes to the area.
A Sustainable Design
Wherever possible, Azevedo chooses native and well-adapted plants and sustainable materials and has developed several sustainable garden solu- tions, such as meadows — a low-maintenance al- ternative to a flat lawn — filled with annuals that are reseeded by butterflies and birds.
“Meadows bring movement and life into the landscape, and they feel sort of impromptu, even though I have carefully designed the textures and color palette to elevate their effects,” Azevedo says.
Another sustainable and increasingly popular option is a pollinator garden, which attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
“They are essentially designs that center plants and flowers that aid the environment and support pollinator populations,” Azevedo says, adding, “There’s nothing like taking your coffee into the garden in the morning to watch the hummingbirds and butterflies.”
Blooms, Greens & Trees
Creating a year-round landscape is all about timing, Azevedo avers.
“Having a strong palette of evergreens in a range of hues and textures is key because in the dead of winter they become the focus for the whole garden,” he says.
Crocus, narcissus, daffodils, tulips, and Muscari bulbs planted in the fall will bloom in early spring. With an eye toward the greenery from plants not currently blooming, Azevedo combines perennials, biennials and bulbs to extend the garden’s blooming season. Salvia, scabiosa and alliums are a few favorites featured in spring displays; in summer, they are surrounded by irises and other summer bloomers. Sporting delicate white flowers in early spring, native dogwoods turn spectacularly red and orange in the fall.
“I design for healthy gardens that change with the seasons and stay as colorful as possible,” he says.
In creating borders of evergreens and trees, Azevedo employs a palette of greens, which have a very calming effect.
“People think of green as one color, but there are so many natural greens, and layering them together creates a sense of depth and emotion,” he says.
A green garden becomes a study in form and tone. A stone path is blended into the composition with even grids and grass.
“Greens are the substance of the garden and they help the eye to transition from colorful flowerbeds to pathways, trees, and grass, making the design feel like a singular composition.”
Trees can be both borders that add depth and set the scale of the property, or standouts in the landscape, such as beautiful cherry blossoms or Japa- nese maples.
“Trees mark the seasons in a garden: They burst into color or fruit, shed their leaves, and flower and sprout green again triumphantly as it warms,” Aze- vedo says.
In addition to providing homes for nesting birds, trees provide essential shade.
“I plant them strategically among the flowers, and also among the places of activity—people need shade too, and I want gardens to feel as inviting and useful as possible,” he says.
Borders, Water and Stone
Curving floral borders overflowing in color and texture have become a signature of Unlimited Earth Care’s designs.
“I like to say that borders are the beginning, middle and end of the garden,” Azevedo says. “I use them to carve out and guide a narrative.”
For smaller properties, borders give depth; for large open areas, they define spaces and make them feel more private.
“Borders give gardens a sense of place, and the plants and flowers I choose to compose it with, set the mood within it,” he explains.
Azevedo plants strategically around pools — which often interrupt the flow of a landscape — to create a scene more reminiscent of a pond or reflecting pool.
“A little stretch of water seen between colorful beds of ornamental blooms is very elegant,” says Azevedo, adding that he’ll plant a rectangular flowerbed in the same dimensions as the pool, bringing the pool into the logic of the design.
“On an aesthetic level, I love to put beautiful colors near the water to create colorful reflections, and so that swimmers might be visited by butterflies,” he says.
Adding yet more ways for people to utilize their gardens, Azevedo designs hardscapes: terraces, walkways, stone walls and stairs.
“Unlimited Earth Care is a full-service garden and landscape design firm, so we do consider these elements to be important parts of the design,” he says.
Stone accents in the garden can create contrasts in the overall design.
“If I’ve gone for a very organic look with the flowers and trees — something less manicured — then I might go neater with the hardscaping,” he explains. “Conversely, pruned and clipped trees and hedges can be blended into the rest of the garden with aesthetically uneven stone elements.”
Celebrating 30 Years
Expanding organically over time, Unlimited Earth Care introduced the Garden Market last year. “The Garden Market carries a curated selection of native and well-adapted plants and flowers that I use in my designs and that I know thrive in the Hamptons,” Azevedo says.
The Garden Concept Store features unique design solutions for garden accessories and essentials, from pots and planters to artisan outdoor furniture.
To mark its 30th anniversary, Unlimited Earth Care invites everyone to the Garden Market at 2249 Scuttle Hole Rd on Saturday, June 17, from 4:00 to 7 p.m. There’ll be music, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and, naturally, flowers.
This article was the cover story of the May 2023 issue of Behind The Hedges, published on Memorial Day weekend. Read the full magazine here.