If style and design operate is largely about resolving troubles, good layout is about solving them in these kinds of a way that you forget what the unique difficulties had been in the initially place. 

Arguably it is why stepping on to a Craig Reynolds-designed residence — with all the eco-friendly and the shade, all the flowing traces and the perception of privateness, and all the regionally proper hardscape — can give you a slight feeling of amnesia. You really don’t know why the position looks the way it does, but it operates. Genuinely, really nicely.

“That’s what we current market – design and style. We always chat about undertaking the very best layout, no make any difference what, for each challenge we can arrive up with. It is range one every single time,” Reynolds mentioned.

Reynolds moved to the Keys in 1998 with a masters degree in landscape architecture from the University of Florida and a position doing the job for the aptly named Raymond Jungles. 

“He was one particular of the very first fellas to make household [landscape] layout attractive, mainly because it was all commercial right before that – purchasing malls and developments. Raymond was a single of the initially to start off searching at it as an art sort,” stated Reynolds. “He confirmed you what could be carried out if you seek the services of a landscape architect.”

Photographs by Tamara Alvarez

Reynolds stayed with Jungles for 7 many years, learning the means of South Florida’s flora, contractors and customers, just before having an office environment and hanging out his have shingle. I was pals with him then. Heading out on your have is generally a big possibility, and the initial six months appeared type of rocky (while Craig is not the form of man to complain). But then anything appeared to catch, and Craig Reynolds Landscape Architects has been flourishing ever considering that.

Most of his do the job is in Vital West and the Florida Keys, but he has performed major projects on the Florida mainland, as nicely as in Louisiana, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Curaçao and St. Vincent. Clientele have included Ralph Lauren and Purple Sox outfielder and designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

Presently he functions out of a second-story office environment on Duval Road with a ping pong desk for a convention desk, a staff members of two landscape architects and an business manager. Reynolds says they have about 25 jobs in the hopper at a time, all in numerous stages – either in style and design, permitting or beneath building. Work opportunities ordinarily get a year-and-a-half to two several years from get started to complete, though he says ideal now he’s telling shoppers it will be shut to a 12 months just before he can even start out a new venture.

He keeps waiting around for the do the job to sluggish down, but it doesn’t. He reported that in an typical yr the workplace utilized to get about 40 to 50 phone calls from potential clientele, but with COVID limiting people’s vacation, in 2021 they acquired more than 180 inquiries.

Pictures by Tamara Alvarez

“I would say we have experienced a fairly fantastic keep track of record of conference the style and design conditions that the house owners want. I assume which is because at the beginning we listen to them. A lot. We consider notes about what they want. We stroll the site with them. I usually explain to them to give me photographs or ideas of nearly anything that appeals to them at all. And then we do the design.”

Reynolds has labored really hard to not have his schedule subsumed with the vagaries and inevitable emergencies that occur with jogging a business. His design and style time, if not sacred, is sacrosanct. He blocks out Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Wednesday afternoons when he can get away with it, to wrestle with vexing complications that appear with making a new landscape. He spends hours sketching matters out on tracing paper, overlaying layouts and thoughts and ideas, earning guaranteed modernity and fluidity merge with functionality in as natural a manner as feasible. He thinks about it when he’s using his bicycle in the early-morning several hours, or reading through in the bathtub after perform, or flying solo cross nation in his solitary-engined Cirrus SR-22. 

“I have a matter I simply call very simple/elaborate/simple. You get started out with a basic idea. You’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I know accurately what I’m gonna do.’ And then as you start off designing, it gets truly complicated and intricate. You are like, ‘Oh, what if I added this and extra that?’ And then you have to just phase back, and you have to say, ‘OK, now I will need to start out peeling elements out of this mainly because I just went overboard.’ Then I carry it again to very simple once again.”

Shots by Tamara Alvarez

Portion of that course of action is coming up with for the arc of time, realizing how plantings will search and functionality promptly just after building, and how they will seem and perform in two many years, 5 yrs, 10 yrs. 

Going to a practically concluded undertaking on Sugarloaf Vital, Reynolds pointed out the row of sabal palmettos lining the circular driveway, experienced trees selected for their elegantly curving trunks that furnished a perception of privateness and permanence. The completed space underneath the home, a vacation resort-like living house, was planted with factors these as woman palms and Florida silver palms, trees that never require considerably daylight and will not grow a lot much more than they by now have. 

Reynolds mentioned they consider to use Keys natives, this sort of as noticed palmettos, as typically as doable, in particular in open up regions, or locations near the h2o, for the reason that they can deal with the sunshine and the salt of the atmosphere. But he mentioned they also make the most of a variety of Caribbean natives, much too, this kind of as aged-gentleman palms from Cuba, because they involve really minimal by way of irrigation.

On the Sugarloaf house a established of stone stairs crafted with modest slabs of shockingly grippy Miami oolite led from a modest beach front spot down into the h2o. The seaside worked as a everyday counterpoint to all the forms and constructions of the assets, but Reynolds pointed out that it also serves one more objective – the sand beneath functioned as a retention region to retailer and filter rainwater from the roof and other locations of the assets.

“In the conclusion we want a home to feel like it’s generally been there, like it is intended to be there, like it fits. Like it was not designed at all,” Reynolds reported.