Gregory Lombardi Design

Gregory Lombardi uses a natural palette

Source: Period Homes

“Designing a landscape is like studying a piece of art,” says landscape architect Gregory Lombardi. “You find its meaning – in its color, form, texture and choice of plants – by analyzing it and asking yourself what story it tells.” It is no accident that Lombardi, founder and president of the Cambridge, MA, firm that carries his name ( ), approaches his work with an artistic eye: He has an undergraduate degree in art history and since childhood, has had an abiding interest in art and historic preservation. These passions fuel his design philosophy, which calls for “the fresh interpretation of classic, timeless principles to create meaningful spaces.”

For the more-than-two decades that he has been painting with plants, Lombardi has established himself as a master of residential projects, whether he is designing a Boston roof terrace, Cape Cod compound or Palm Beach condo. “The homeowners I work with are not clients, they are patrons,” he says. “They have remarkable physical locations that allow me to create unique interactive landscapes. My gardens are works of art, and I approach them seriously. I don’t waste gestures or add a line that doesn’t tell a story. I’m a good editor – I don’t waste time on something that doesn’t propel the plot.”

Lombardi notes that his “living canvases” provide a unique sensory experience that is not only visual. “There are auditory and olfactory elements that evoke feelings and memories,” he says. “For instance, when I smell lilacs, I remember my grandmother’s house.”

A self-described “Nature Boy,” Lombardi was taught the beauty of the blooms by his grandfather, who every spring took him to pick out plants at a friend’s greenhouse. “This cultivated my interest,” he says. “I could buy whatever I wanted as long as I planted it. I learned that you have to be patient with gardens.”

Rather than adhering to one “absolute style,” Lombardi explains that his projects, most of them in the Northeast and Florida, possess a defining “rigor or discipline” and a “level of thoughtfulness, detail and craftsmanship” that set them apart. “There is no one style that dominates the design,” he says. “All contexts are considered for synergistic impact.”

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