Mary Ann R.

Mary Ann studied design and fine arts at the prestigious The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with a focus on painting, sculpture and photography. She has also studied urban garden design at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was marrying her love for visual storytelling and her green education that was handed down to her from her mother that she dove into green design projects. She drafts and executes garden designs for interior and exterior edible and landscape gardens as well as hardscape installations.  Mary Ann’s designs draw from her travels, living abroad in Spain and the east coast garden she grew up eating from. Her style is organic modern, preferring non-fussy spaces, beautiful lines and light. Her design philosophy is client and environment-centric, creating spaces that fit not only the personality of the client, but their lifestyle and the landscape. She likes to encourage sustainable and drought tolerant gardens which not only support local eco-systems, but also have less impact on the environment and save the client money and labor. Her press and projects include these partners and outlets: Lonny Magazine, Design Milk, Gardenista ,The Nest, Edible Magazine, The Community Garden Alliance, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Food Network NYC Wine and Food Festival with Food & Wine Magazine, Grow To Learn NYC, Bold NY,, Time Out, The Brooklyn Paper,, WWD, New York Magazine, Girl Around Town, The Knot, The Brooklyn Craft Company, CourseHorse and many more.

From where do you draw most of your inspiration?

Being a designer who works with greenery and plants, nature would be the obvious answer, but it’s really hardscapes that inspire me. I get jazzed about how I can integrate organic sculptural shapes into a linear design or designing hardscapes, adding a sense of magic, tranquility or romance – or just creating a sense of wonderful comfort and home. I look at every space as a canvas for a story to tell with plants.

Tell us your biggest design secret:

Plants can be a major design element and add drama and texture to a room. If you have the light, don’t be afraid to go big! Plants like Rhapis Palm, Fiddle Leaf Fig, White Bird of Paradise and Cut Leaf Philodendrons can make a room look much more expensive than it is. I also love self watering pots because they open up design choices for clients who have a busy lifestyle.

What’s your prediction for the next big trend in design?

Gardens with a purpose. People are moving away from lavish gardens to more personalized spaces with a concern for the environment, changing weather patterns and hosting pollinators with more native plants and flowers to attract birds and bees. Some of these unique spaces are taking form in the shape of cocktail, medicinal, herbal, natural dye and edible gardens mixed into low maintenance landscape design.