One-Of-A-Kind Landscaping

Secure Custom Outdoor Living Spaces From Passionate Professionals

Article by Julie Brown Patton

Photography by Courtesy of Dean's Landscaping

Originally published in West Chester Lifestyle

Spectacular landscaping is the result of a collaboration between art and nature. 

Experience counts when creating both beautiful and functional outdoor living spaces that enhance homeowners' lifestyles. That's why the West Chester-based team at Dean's Landscaping partners with clients in creative ways to realize their visions for customized patio areas, pool scapes or outdoor kitchen projects.

"We combine our talent, knowledge and technical expertise to create memorable living areas, working with whatever spaces offer – while always keeping styles and budgets in mind," says Dean Stafford, who launched the business in 1988.

He says now is a perfect time to discuss and plot projects for next spring. "We can take advantage of the winter to get the planning and permitting done, then hit the ground running once the weather turns nicer."

As an accomplished listener, Dean says he relishes organic conversations with clients as they brainstorm ideas about spaces. "Each project is a chance for us all to have fun, and that's always exciting. The variety is endless and there's quite a bit of diversity in tastes. People are so interesting," he confides. 

Clients indicate one of the main strengths of Dean's Landscaping is the company's one-call approach. "We remain fully accountable as the project manager, and it's my in-house team that does all the work," he says.

In fact, they provide all of the following major elements of each project:

  • Designers.
  • Installation teams.
  • Landscape elements, including the planting of trees, shrubs and perennials. 
  • Refined hardscape elements, including pergolas, cabanas, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and pool decks.
  • Horticulturist infusions for butterfly gardens, cutting gardens and culinary delights.
  • Exceptional outdoor LED landscape lighting as the finishing touch for evening hours.

Dean says lines of communication are clear throughout projects to ensure clients are speaking to the right person at the right time. 

A plant-centric approach is integral in Dean's designs. "Plants play such a large role in creating a welcoming environment and encouraging people to stay there. They help make unique settings, like icing on the cake," he explains, adding that he likes to plan out plants as the living elements that represent the different personalities of the seasons.

"Without plants, spaces don't have the same character that most people are looking for. Combining plants that complement how a space is designed to make people feel, or sometimes using plants as an intentional opposite of physical spaces to soften them or make them bolder, is really enjoyable," he says. 

Currently, Dean is personally experimenting with a special tree commonly known as Mountain Gordlinia. He says it's a cross between a Franklin tree and loblolly bay. This hybrid is a member of the tea family with flowers having a mild sweet fragrance. While Gordlinia has a reputation for being challenging to develop, Dean says it is fast-growing and does bloom in late summer through frost. 

The Dean's Landscaping team works well in spaces that "marry and successfully live in old versus new tension," says Dean. They are comfortable in combining natural stone and brick, modern layouts with interesting juxapositions, dressing stone up or down, or using manufactured products to create simple, clean lines for linear spaces. 

"When it comes to landscape designs, we walk fine lines of balance. And we create focal points to surprise you. Less is more while still being bold," he says.

This crew serves West Chester, Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and the surrounding communities, as well as the mainline suburbs of Delaware and Montgomery Counties. They have their own small nursery, as well as access to hardscape benefits such as game-changing retaining wall systems and water features.

"With the explosion of staycations, we can execute really comprehensive plans and projects. Enduring relationships are important to us, and it's rewarding to assist clients with phase 2 or 3 of their landscaping needs, or at multiple homes. With some clients, we've had the opportunity to work with different generations and become more like extended family members," says Dean. 


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