When Adam Allison was earning his landscape design credentials at Fanshawe College, he knew two things:
One, he would need the experience to flesh out his classroom knowledge. And secondly, he had an entrepreneurial itch that needed to be scratched.
In some ways, the itch came first, the now 28-year-old resident of Petrolia having formed Allison Plantscapes even before he finished Fanshawe.
Heading to DeGroot's Nurseries as a landscape designer for one year, Allison then went to the big smoke (Toronto), where he linked up with an urban landscape design firm that focused on the kind of work he eventually wanted to do, in fact, what he's doing now at his own local company, Leaf Garden Design.
He still keeps in touch with his former employers at Inside and Out Garden Design, who he considers mentors in the type of work that he wants to bring to the Sarnia-Lambton area.
"They work on small space design," notes Allison. "When you're b oxed in, which is often the case in an urban setting, you take in all the surroundings. It's a challenging kind of work."
Eventually, Allison says, the three million people in the GTA got a little much, but the vision he has for incorporating value and design together remains.
"Really, 100% of the people can appreciate it, although it's not for everyone. In some respects, it's 'you don't know what you don't know.'"
In essence, then, Allison is part landscape designer and part educator.
He now works with firms such as Urban Escape, a downtown Sarnia firm, which whom he shares a sense of purpose and philosophy. "We share a goal of having our clients love their space."
Allison says his approach to landscape design is to bring a sense of fluidity and seamlessness to the process, something that means developing an understanding of how the client wants to use their space.
"Knowing the client is key," says Allison. "With outdoor living being as important as it is today, developing a sustainable space is something that is going to derive lasting benefits for the homeowner. And when they see that, they understanding just how valuable a landscape design can be."
Allison can be reached through his website at www.leafgardendesign.ca