Harvest Yard

Amanda Taylor of LaGuardia Design tells Purist about how home gardens are bringing farm that much closer to table.

What’s for lunch? Ask the leading landscape architecture firm in the Hamptons and they’ll tell you it’s all about locally grown organic food. But when they say locally grown, they don’t mean at the farm stand down the road; they mean in your very own organic garden. At LaGuardia Design Group, farm-to-table has become almost as important as design. “When you take organically grown vegetables picked at 5, place them on the grill at 7, and serve them at 7:30, right in the garden, your guests notice. And it tastes amazing,” says Chris LaGuardia, who has an organic garden at his home in Water Mill.

This social and culinary movement, which has taken over restaurant industry practices, promotes serving locally grown and organic food, most often by direct acquisition from the farm. LaGuardia Design Group has responded to this trend, and is expert at creating elegant spaces for growing, preparing and eating all within a few steps of the home. In addition to the planting beds, herbs grown in pots are picked for garnishes, seasoning, and the creation of evening cocktails. Charlotte LaGuardia, daughter of Chris LaGuardia, a clinical nutritionist and owner of the integrative Thrive East in Water Mill, weighs in on the benefits of accessible clean eating: “There has been an increase in demand for quality, nutrient-dense food. Produce from local farms and back-yard gardens will always be the highest in nutrient content, because there is much less time between harvest and consumption. Additionally, food sourced close to home will have a smaller carbon footprint, making it not just good for your health, but the planet!” Charlotte has influenced the way members of the firm eat, and is a big local proponent of a whole foods-based diet.

“We’re seeing more and more clients spend time in the garden with their kids,” observes Ian Hanbach, a partner at LaGuardia, who notes that clients keep small shovels and water pails so their kids can help maintain the garden. “It’s almost like we’re creating outdoor classrooms for children to learn about plant science and the local environment, and to experience growing their own food from seeds.” The design and contents of each garden are assembled to suit their location. The result is a space that gives new meaning to the concept of outdoor living room. Pictured here, a Sagaponack property—canopied by elm trees and surrounded by boxwood parterres, planters and an outdoor kitchen just beyond the gate—is highlighted by a custom-designed table for both daytime and evening al-fresco dining. By allowing the participation of all members of the family, these spaces elevate the outdoor entertaining experience beyond just conversation at the dinner table. laguardiadesigngroup.com