As he approaches 30 years of innovative landscape designs on the Eastern Shore, the owner of Yard Designs, Inc. shares his secrets for originality, diversity and style
What began nearly 30 years ago with one truck and a second-hand lawnmower is today one of the region's pre-eminent design/build companies. If it's outdoors, somewhere on the Eastern Shore, and drop-dead gorgeous, there's an excellent chance Bryan LeCompte and his company, Yard Designs, Inc., created it. As his company flourished, so did his sense of civic responsibility, to the point where he is now regarded as a pillar of the community. Not only does LeCompte currently sit on the board of directors of the prestigious Peninsula Regional Medical Center Foundation, he and his wife, Whitnie, have been chosen as this year's honorees at its annual gala.
Yard Designs' expert craftsmen are skilled at executing any design vision, whether it be informal, elaborate, coastal or Williamsburg formal, as displayed in this Salisbury backyard, a project they teamed with the Becker Morgan Group to design and create recently.
The new pool placed on axial alignment with a new sunroom and existing center hall of the Georgian mansion is surrounded with an expansive bluestone terrace and complemented by multiple accessory structures. An outdoor kitchen and barbecue area, entry-gate pavilion, outdoor-dining pergola and a massive outdoor brick fireplace designed to mimic the main house's iconic chimneys, all blend seamlessly to create intimate vignettes for lounging, dining and entertaining. Adorned with Colonial lanterns, outdoor chandeliers and softened by an array of carefully selected plantings, the backyard creates a resort-like environment and becomes an enchanting experience far beyond its intended functionality.
Among the many services Yard Designs offers is the construction of magnificent outdoor structures. This home's "crab shack," as the owner refers to it, is actually an elegant coastal pavilion created by Yard Design's artisans. Inspired by the Hamptons' shingle style, the structure features over-scaled Tuscan columns and cedar shingles that complement the client's residence. Also included are custom-crafted ipe floors, detailed ceilings and cabinetry, exotic Luis Blue granite tops and Caribbean-style ceiling fans, all wrapping a superstructure sturdy enough to withstand any force of nature. It's potentially the coolest place to relax and pick crabs on the Shore.
We sat down with Bryan recently to learn more about the man himself and to discover what fuels his continuous passion to be the best in his industry.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION REGARDING YOUR WORK?
In my experience, there has always been a misconception that creating stylish exterior living spaces comes only with spending a fortune. That’s just not true. Quality, sophistication and simplicity can all be accomplished creatively and affordably.
WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS FOR UNIQUE DESIGNS COME FROM FOR EACH PROPERTY?
It all starts with a vision. I am a spiritual person, and I truly believe God has given me the ability to walk onto a property and create something unique. Those instincts allow me to be passionate and original and to continually design projects that focus on aesthetics, functionality and exceed the expectations of our clients.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION FOR A DESIGN STYLE THAT CONTINUES TO EVOLVE?
The elements and surroundings of the property are like a blank canvas. I then infuse my creativity and experiences to transform the design in my mind. As a designer, I am always mentally cataloging elements from nature, travel, art, people, cities and other cultures because you never know when one image or memory will inspire a design or add the perfect finishing touch to a project. Inspiration is everywhere — from a beautiful home or an elegant garden to a perfectly designed hotel or old-world church — they’ve all have a profound influence on my work.
YOU’VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL, YET YOU’VE CREATED NEW DIVISIONS IN YARD DESIGNS, INC., SUCH AS MASONRY AND CARPENTRY. WHY IS DIVERSITY SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I believe that to be the best at what you do, you have to continually challenge yourself, and those around you, to improve every day. It is also important to me to never become complacent, because the moment you do, your work will begin to suffer.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTEGRAL ASPECT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
Trust. It’s a key component in any relationship, and working as closely as we do with our clients allows those bonds to be created. I can’t stress the importance of that enough. They trust us to turn their concept into a reality, and it’s an obligation we take tremendous pride in delivering. Some clients come to me knowing with significant detail what it is they’re looking for. Others put that responsibility completely in my hands. Either way, it’s my job to create a reality that at the very least meets and likely exceeds the greatest expectations of them now and for years to come. The reward comes when the project is completed and we see the satisfaction and enjoyment of the clients.
YARD DESIGNS, INC.
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