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Meet Nicole: Resident Early Bird and Perennial Design Guru

Meet Nicole: Resident Early Bird and Perennial Design Guru

Nicole has been a landscape designer with Lotus for going on eight years, joining the team at the height of her long and successful landscaping career. 

Those who know her are often surprised to learn that she originally trained for a career in health care, before heading back to school to study landscape design and nursery management. 

Creative, driven, and infinitely positive, Nicole taught herself to use CAD software alongside her studies, and after graduation, she launched her own design business. In 2007, she published a book, “Perennial Reference Guide”, which is used by professionals and students as a valuable resource in choosing plant material. 

Nicole first encountered Lotus while using us as a subcontractor for a bluestone installation at the company she was working for. Her job required her to tour our projects, and she said she was struck by our unique water features and innovative design style. In terms of garden design, Nicole has never been a fan of the “cookie-cutter” approach, and her appreciation of all things bespoke and custom-made meant she was the perfect fit for Lotus. 

Her start with us was a baptism of fire, with everything that could go wrong on a job doing so. Incessant rain turned the job site into a mud-logged swamp, halting operations and leaving the team bedraggled and behind. Nicole admits that she “lay in bed crying” after those initial days, but that her mindset changed after a conversation with Traven.

“Chill out,” he told her, “there’s nothing you can do about the weather.”

Now, she says she recognizes that sometimes things happen that are beyond your control, but if you remain calm and keep going, everything works itself up. Nothing is perfect in life or landscaping. That project ended up being her first award-winning design with the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association.

As an early riser, Nicole likes to start her day with a gym session before heading into the office to organize the day’s site visits. The majority of her time is spent in the office, helping customers discover their dream gardenscapes. Her signature style and beautiful perennial designs are much-loved by her colleagues and clients alike. She draws inspiration from the natural materials found at the project site and said she is always on tenterhooks waiting to see what the project supervisor will create.

She said: “The thing I love about Lotus is that the team is all about those special touches. The supervisors that work for us are true artists. They take rocks that other companies might just randomly place into a garden bed, and give the extra thought needed to combine them with the rest of the project to make an art piece”

Nicole’s favorite part of the job is seeing a project come together. 

She said: “It’s amazing, I’ve been designing for 20 years, but I still forget sometimes how much work goes into making it all come together. The client envisions what the space will look like from the drawings, but they never imagine all the construction and demolition that goes into making it a reality. Everything is hard to visualize until the final cleanup. It’s beautiful seeing the finished hardscape, all the plants and final touches put into place.”

Of course, landscaping isn’t an easy industry, and Nicole says that fitting everything into a 40-hour workweek can be challenging, particularly during the busy season. For her, Lotus get-togethers provide a welcome opportunity to spend time with other team members. She appreciates the community and culture that come with working for a business that feels like family and said she is proud to be part of a team that helps new talent grow.

Want to meet Nicole and be a part of our award-winning team? Check out our available job opportunities online!

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