Strength, utility, and beauty are at the heart of every Dreamscapes landscape design project.
By Jennifer Morrell
Richard Allen always loved and appreciated architecture. His admiration for the design and beauty of homes created by such renowned architects as Frank Lloyd Wright led to his pursuit of a residential architecture degree. His path would later take a turn toward landscape design and an affinity for backyard beauty. Dreamscapes was born in 1998, and Richard has never looked back.
“I started with a degree in residential architecture, but never pursued a career in this field,” Richard says. “I always loved architecture and learned about different styles of buildings. But the more I observed the lines and curves of landscapes while riding, driving or visiting places, I knew my love was more in the landscape design field.”
The drafting skillset developed from his residential architecture degree helped make the move to landscape design smooth for Richard. Drafting knowledge helped him to understand how to draw plans. Knowing how to draw symbols for residential house plans helped him to transition to a landscape design career.
For the most part, Richard was self-taught, seeing how each curve and line could enhance a landscape. He also gained an understanding of a wide variety of plants, flowers and foliage, and how they work to create dimension and texture as well as provide beauty and opulence.
“I started out only mowing and always watched each curve and every line,” he says. “I learned what could be enhanced to make some yards look better than others. Part of the learning came from my love of sports. I love the perfectly manicured lines of baseball fields and round swales and rolling portions of golf courses.”
Richard says he was lucky to have picked up a few high-end landscape jobs when he was first starting out, including a garden in the Vinings area. “The owner would walk me through the garden at each visit, telling me what to do and how to do it,” he says. “I was amazed by the garden art he had created and asked a lot of questions about the design. I truly had an ‘ah-ha’ moment that, when combined with my passion of learning, took me to the next step in developing my creativity.”
Another example of Richard’s brushes with landscape mentors included an opportunity to maintain a garden that was featured in Southern Living magazine. He was again walking and talking with the owner about how to maintain such an exquisite landscape design. “She started teaching me about foliage, textures, and colors,” Richard says. “I knew I could take my creativity to another level that would surpass my competition. I developed and worked off that knowledge as I kept looking for plants and materials that made my creations unique.”
During his first five years in landscaping design, Richard’s focus was on working with nature and creating topography. This included the shaping of soil and raising beds that created contours, using nature to develop a natural look. However, a full understanding of drainage would be the most important part of his landscaping portfolio. Landscapes must drain well to have longevity, no matter how wonderful they may look in the beginning. The function of drainage must be incorporated at the onset of the project.
Richard is an expert at foundation and drainage repairs, so much so that he sees a future in building custom homes with foundations built correctly the first time, with no future corrections needed. The grandson of a home builder, his potential knows no bounds.
Dreamscapes works exclusively with homeowners and custom home builders. Richard’s passion is for landscape design, providing solutions and creating beauty — unique landscapes for each customer’s particular needs and wants. He offers a wide range of services, including drainage, plant installations, carpentry, remodeling, foundation repair, irrigation, ponds, fountains, lighting, natural stone hardscapes, and landscaping for pools, decks, volleyball courts, putting greens, and synthetic lawns.
“We are able to do things that some engineering companies have turned down, due to the challenges presented,” Richard says. “We maintain lawns and gardens, and I teach my maintenance crews about the art of the process of taking nothing and turning into a great landscape or garden. I want them to see it as art. We dream up the design together and determine what is needed for a piece of art or a solution to a problem.”
Richard has 36 employees, including about 20 workers whom he employs through U.S. work visas each year. “It can be difficult to find people who are able to do this type of work,” he says. “It also can be challenging for them to perform the high-end work and maintain the level of professionalism required. I have a great crew, and we are all family.”
A functional outdoor living space can be an extension of a homeowner’s indoor living space, but also can be the reason for staying home and enjoying one’s own private Shangri-La. Richard knows this all too well, with 19-year-old triplets who would rather hang out at home and invite their friends over, than search for a different environment for socializing.
“A well-designed landscape can improve your quality of life, and we can’t really put a value on memories, enjoyment, and time with friends at home,” he says. “An inviting outdoor area will keep your kids around more often and offer a wonderful place for friends and family to congregate. It’s also a relaxing escape after a long day at the office.”
Achieving a quality landscape or hardscape project for his clients is Richard’s number-one priority. Sometimes, to get there, he must first help his clients understand what is achievable, and how the entire process works to build their dream backyard. He explains: In 40 BCE, the Roman architect Vitruvius wrote that structures should have three attributes: finnitas (strength), utilitas (utility), and venustas (beauty). The Romans inherited these three attributes from Greek construction projects centuries before. Many of the greatest construction projects in history are based on the three principles, Richard said, and his company incorporates these design philosophies into everything they do.
Dreamscapes had the distinguished honor of being named as “Contractor of the Year” by LandOpt, a networking group for landscape designers, for measured commitment, focus and perseverance in the industry.
“The award means a lot to us, because we went into LandOpt as a small company among the best and most elite landscape companies in the nation, from Hawaii to the East Coast,” he says. “Within three years of learning from the LandOpt team and our peers, we won many awards, but the best was Contractor of the Year.”
A clear-cut purpose
Richard’s mission is to be the most respected landscape artist in the Cobb area. His philosophy is to incorporate strength, purpose, and beauty in each project. “I want to be the person people call to build and design an amazing dream home or landscape,” he says. “I also want to be the first to diagnose an issue and correct it. Our designs must have a purpose, then they must be beautiful and always strong. We do it right the first time, before moving on to our next project.”
The goal of Dreamscapes is for each customer to be 100-percent satisfied with the oasis the company has created. The breadth and depth of Richard’s landscaping skillset will only continue to expand in the future.
“When you love what you do, it’s never a job,” Richard says. “It’s a pleasure to learn about and solve people’s problems, while creating a beautiful landscape design. We offer the best in customer care and service, along with solutions that last a lifetime.”
4337 Dallas Acworth Hwy
Acworth, GA 30101