Mt Laurel’s intentionally preserved landscape doesn’t just inspire David Brush’s work as a landscape architect. Its inherent beauty drew him to make his home here as well—which is why being a contributor to the Idea House is so special to him. His firm, , has designed an outdoor room that beautifully dovetails with ’s plan, melding perfectly into a shared philosophy: to create designs “informed by history yet relevant in the present.” This month, we sit down with David to learn more about the 2016 Southern Living Idea House and his vision for the site.
ML: First off, you’re a Mt Laurel resident and the landscape architect for the Southern Living Idea House. What does it mean to you to live here and be a major contributor to this project?
David Brush: It’s extra special being a resident and part of this project because it’s of great importance to this community. I’ve lived here for over 13 years, and the essence and quality that is Mt Laurel has informed my design process. To take what’s part of my everyday life and contribute to it is incredibly meaningful.
ML: What’s it been like working with Southern Living? Are you incorporating anything from the ?
David Brush: It’s been great working with them; the magazine is such a Southern staple. From the get-go, there’s been a lot of excitement in Mt Laurel and the Birmingham community. We have a great team to work with; Bill Ingram has an amazing vision for the project.
One of the assets of working with Southern Living as a landscape architect is the plant collection. I’ve made a conscious effort to incorporate these plants, balancing it with Mt Laurel’s natural plant palate. Our native plants list lends a unique flavor and character to Mt Laurel.
ML: Help us envision the Idea House outdoor area. What will be growing? How do you plan to fuse your design with Mt Laurel’s natural landscape?
David Brush: The site selected by . couldn’t be more perfect. What’s unique to the site is that it’s located across from a wooded area that won’t be available for development. Bill Ingram sited the house to take advantage of those views, and the landscape design takes advantage of those views as well. Being on a corner lot, there’s two fronts. Some of my favorite go-to natural plants—oakleaf hydrangeas, rosemary, St. John’s wort, serviceberries, yellow anise, and magnolias—are planted close to the home on one front. The other front is built around the existing trees, and we left it just that way. Nothing needed to happen; it was already in fantastic shape.
Something that’s important to and common in Mt Laurel is the love of being outdoors. People here love to be outside. So I’ve tried to highlight that with an outdoor room as well.