Christian Lemon and Jennifer Brooke consolidated their efforts in 2005 to create a practice that assembles the best of their combined experience from internationally recognized landscape architecture firms. Their office, LEMON BROOKE, is an opportunity to carry on the accomplished traditions of their mentors through the practice of highly professional and creative design. Christian and Jennifer’s integrated portfolio includes urban plazas, corporate and university campuses, sculpture gardens, private residences and estates, resorts and community land plans. Their experience allows them to address a wide range of practical challenges: difficult sites, demanding budgets, time constraints, unusual landscape technology requirements, materials research and the merging of new construction with existing contexts.
We are designers. Most of our work is outside. Sometimes we work inside and even then, we’re thinking about the outside. So what that really means is that we alter, tweak, transform, nudge, encourage and sometimes outright over-haul the spaces that people occupy every day, helping to make them more elegantly useful. When space is useful, it becomes meaningful and if it also brings pleasure because it is beautiful, it develops the power to stick. This ‘sticky- index’ is important. Sticky landscapes are memorable, and become placeholders for our identity as individuals, families, communities and a culture. Sticky is good.
Changing the landscape requires serious commitment regardless of scale. Anyone that has invested sweat equity and a few dollars planting bulbs in the fall and then patiently waited until the spring to enjoy their floral display understands the kind of perseverance required to make even a small transformation. This same individual also understands how disappointing it is to have made an effort that doesn't meet expectations. This is where we come in. We make it our priority to help our clients invest wisely.
We understand this necessary dedication of resources and time to achieve a truly memorable, efficient and elegant project. We actively collaborate with our clients and consultants to collectively establish project goals. These goals guide the creation of landscape spaces that are sensitive to the existing subtleties of site dynamics, elegantly respond to the functional needs of the client, consider historical context, and use appropriate materials and construction techniques. While every project is a unique journey unto itself we remain committed to these objectives whether the project is a small residence or a large downtown plaza.
Design, design, design. Here at LEMON BROOKE, design is king, or queen depending on whom you speak to. Landscape doesn't do trendy very well. It takes too long. Rather, the design that we are obsessed with is functional elegance, design that just works and has the capability to inspire. And because landscape as a medium is so diverse, we strive to avoid compartmentalizing ecology, aesthetics, program and site as we think through a project. Our approach is contemporary in that it does not start from a form-based strategy or imported geometry, instead we allow the site characteristics and the unique circumstances of the project drive the aesthetic direction. Individual climates, geographies and clients are what make projects the most interesting. We bring to the table our professional experience, our personal histories, knowledge of current practice in both landscape and in architecture, and a discriminating eye for color, proportion and form.
The orchestration of all of this – the site, the client, the idea, the construction schedule, the weather, the local planning board, the budget, and sometimes the endangered species or two – is not always a tidy operation. It can and does get messy. We believe messy is good for some part of the design process as it elicits ideas and associations that would have been hard to come by otherwise. Bumps in the road are useful challenges to assumptions already made and are opportunities to confirm direction or change course. We like tidy but are not afraid of messy.
Professionally there are two ends of the design spectrum, at one extreme is the ideological practice that has lots of ideas and doesn't build very much, and at the other end of the spectrum is the practice that builds everything and uses rubber-stamp solutions from project to project. In the middle is what we like to think is a thoughtful, detail rich, site-specific, human scale territory. Our work is positioned in this middle. By integrating contemporary ideas, addressing each project on its own unique merits, and practicing with the aim of constructing landscape spaces that enhance human experience, our work covers a variety of project typologies in the built environment.