Meet Landscape Designer: Tara Baker
For Tara Baker, landscape design is not only exciting… every opportunity she has to create an outdoor living space that reflects the personality of her client, is downright invigorating!
Love of Nature
Tara credits her nature-oriented parents for instilling that love of nature in her. Her father, a first generation immigrant from Russia & Poland, came from a long line of farmers, and always spoke to her about farming in scientific terms.
The fascination she developed for the scientific aspect of nature led Tara to her first job in a greenhouse when she was 16 years old, then on to Rutgers University for her Landscape Architecture degree.
Tara's first job after graduation was at Studio 39 for a year, and although she loved the stimulation of the build side, she didn’t like the macro scale of designing urban infill - it seemed impersonal. So, she left that job to tour Europe for several months, visiting Ireland, England, Italy, France & Spain.
During that trip, as she was exposed to European architecture and gardens, especially the heavy-on-design Italian gardens, along with her observations about how people interacted with their outdoor gardens, Tara's interest pivoted to residential design.
For the last 8 years, Tara has focused on residential design/build and relishes connecting directly with her clients to bring their unique designs to fulfillment. She says every new and unique design has its own life, and every outdoor living space is an extension of family that promotes a healthy lifestyle, and an appreciation for beautiful surroundings. It also adds value to the home.
Kitchen gardens among Tara’s favorites
“Edible” or kitchen gardens are among Tara’s favorite creations that combine vegetables, herbs and ornamental plants in stunning designs. These edible or “potager” gardens had their origins in France, who have long excelled at creating grand kitchen gardens.
Tara’s edible garden design may comprise of a hardscape kitchen or grill area under a pergola, with easy access to edible vegetables and herbs, among floral displays. It may include a water feature, fireplace, deck, or patio that adds beauty, visual perspective with functionality, regardless of the size of the space.
“It’s a magical moment when everything comes together for the client,” says Tara, who admits to taking every residential design job as personally as her clients do.