Place Matters, a landscape architecture and sustainability firm, has expanded its practice to the Eastern Shore and is currently designing landscapes throughout Talbot County. With over two decades of practice experience, Place Matters helps property owners achieve sustainable landscape design solutions while providing thoughtful and beautiful designs that fit with the Chesapeake Bay region.
“We have worked on some very interesting – and very challenging – sites across the country,” says owner Brian Kane, ASLA. “The challenge of each project is to create a design that will meet the client’s program, while also integrating elements to enhance and respect the ecosystems of the Bay region.”
The firm’s ideal client is an environmentally minded landowner. “Our ideal clients are those who are seeking to create a beautiful space that will also bring ecological balance to a property,” said Brian, who guides the firm’s clients from intentions to implementation. “We need to be mindful that our actions – from the plants we choose to the waste we produce – needs to consider the entire natural system. Our design should be part of a much larger natural system.”
“We know how special the Eastern Shore is to landowners and institutions here, and how they cherish this place beyond compare,” said Brian, who has lived off and on in Talbot County since 2004, most recently in Royal Oak. “Each day they are immersed in seeing the wonder of wildlife, habitat, and tides all mixing into a beautiful process. It’s no wonder they are vigilant about protecting and enhancing this rich and varied landscape.”
Brian is particularly mindful of the web of life in the Chesapeake region due to its location on so many migration routes. Place Matters, which also specializes in historic property analysis and design, has worked on a range of sites that include The Charles Carroll House of Annapolis, Mattapany on the Patuxent River, the Governor’s home in Snow Hill, and the Naval Officer’s Residence, a building that survived the burning of Washington at the Washington Navy Yard.
“In each historic property, we researched the past to respect and understand it more fully. Often landscapes are not well documented, so we do not presume anything. The key is to research, move carefully, and not create something that is false. We leave room for interpretation and imagination. We also hope those projects can also offer an ecologically balanced approach.”
The firm also designed many sites in a wide range of urban areas, such as the Mary’s Garden at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, and landscapes for campuses and churches throughout Maryland.
“The environment is our first concern and all else follows from there,” he noted, of seeing the many challenges that will continue to face landscapes in the mid-Atlantic with a warming client and sea level rise.
Brian, who is a certified landscape architect and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, also taught full time at University of Maryland. “At Maryland, it was great to see the students who were not only passionate about design and construction, but also cared deeply for the environment and the surrounding community. These students are making a difference today and care so much about ecological balance.”
He also directed University of Maryland’s Community Design studio where the students studied neighborhoods with limited available funding and worked with residents and community members to study urban and natural systems, and to integrate open space and public park areas meaningfully.
Brian himself is passionate about the Bay and has grown (and installed) wild celery grasses for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and was also a forest buffer monitor and continues to be an advocate in its advocacy network. He has planted “hundreds of trees” for many schools and churches as a volunteer and directs a church food pantry garden where he oversees the planting of vegetables to take to a food pantry. “I see that work as part of the cycle of care for community,” says Brian.
Place Matters welcomes inquiries about projects for the coming months, a great time to plan for spring implementation. Brain may be reached at email@example.com, or by visiting www.placemattersgroup.com and filling out a Contact Form.