Frederico Azevedo Adds International Flair to Hamptons Gardens
by jamee gregory
Frederico Azevedo relaxes in his own garden.
How many local landscapers have studied in Brazil and at Oxford? Frederico Azevedo of Unlimited Earth Care may be the only one with such training. Mentors like Robin Templar Williams, the former vice chair of the UK’s Society of Garden Designers, and Elizabeth Lear, a pioneer garden designer in East Hampton who studied at Harvard, encouraged him to pursue his career. Growing up, he was influenced by the ideas of Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian modern landscape designer, known for his immense projects in Rio. From these many influences came Azevedo’s Bridgehampton store, where he says he wanted to “sell objects with sleek lines, sophisticated things for those who appreciate modernism, pieces from the early ’30s, ’60s, and ’70s.”
Arriving out East in 1990 after working for a brief time in Manhattan for a Japanese garden company and designing a property in Water Mill, Azevedo became enchanted with landscape design. “I push myself,” he says. “And having mentors and clients who appreciated my work and believed in me gave me confidence.”
As his business expanded, he worked with clients such as Frances Lear on Southampton’s Gin Lane. His work has appeared in Architectural Digest and Garden Design, illustrating his signature style: landscapes that look organic, as if they have always been there. “I help create sustainable gardens. And my clients keep calling; they want more and more,” he offers. “I love being a part of their enthusiasm, giving them something new. I choose plants that flourish. My notable clients—Joan Hamburg, Ron Delsener, Lesley Gore, and soccer star Pelé—have been with me for many years.”
Azevedo meets with his clients and interprets their ideas to fit their land. He considers how to efficiently work within the constraints of their properties, organizes the location of pools, play areas, and rose, vegetable, and perennial gardens, and provides open spaces and privacy, while keeping the design suitable and sustainable. “I try to make inviting landscapes that flow and are not over the top,” he says, accomplishing this mission by mixing materials such as bluestone, grass, and gravel. Although Azevedo helps clients create a plain for maintaining his landscapes, he is often involved after the initial design with upkeep. “Maintenance makes a landscape,” he explains. “It is a big part of my company.”
Azevedo also stresses that the key to successful landscape design is visually knowing how to make things blend. “I prefer a soft palette with a spot of hot red or magenta. A dense variety of many textures looks natural,” Azevedo says, adding, “My specialist gardeners, many of whom have been with me for 17 years, understand that beauty is in the details. Beds should be edged, scale maintained, an illusion created with varying heights, textures, and colors. Whatever the garden’s size, it can look immense and be more beautiful every year.” Unlimited Earth Care, 2249 Scuttle Hole Road, Bridgehampton, 725-7551.
photography by Josh Lehrer