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Spotlight: Jenn Nawada

What does a landscape designer do during a New England winter?

Now that Jenn Nawada has become a familiar face to TOH viewers on Ask This Old House (where she has been on the team since 2015) and current renovation projects, including the Brookline mid-century-modern house, we wanted to find out a bit more about her work.

We caught up with Jenn on a bitter winter day (temps in the 20s, wind chill near 10) when she was explaining the permeable pavers chosen for the Brookline project’s patio. A Florida native, Jenn finds New England winters a challenge, but she says the cold season is one of the best times of year for working with clients on the plans for their landscape and gardens.

“Serious clients will call in the fall, which means I can get the measurements at their yard before the snow comes, and then we can work on the design all winter and be ready to start the minute the ground thaws in the spring,” says Jenn, who runs her own landscape design firm in the Boston area.

Much like a home renovation, a landscape or garden can be reworked to use the best parts of what is already in place, but make it even better. “At a lot of homes, we can play off of what is there, but often plants may have grown too large for their location, or a patio isn’t in the best place, so we make a plan,” says Jenn. The key, in her mind, is to create a space where the homeowners can have a sanctuary in their own yard.

“People sometimes forget how important it is to have an outdoor space and how enjoyable it is.” Once the temperatures rise, of course!