Creating the perfect outdoor living space is a balancing act. Somewhere between the homeowner’s vision and the potential that the landscape holds lies the seed for the ultimate backyard oasis. For Andrew Cutright and the crew at Greensward LLC, this balance comes from years of experience and a willingness to understand what a homeowner wants, while finding creative ways to make that idea bloom into reality. And they were able to walk that tightrope all the way into their second HARDSCAPE HERO win when they secured the award for March.

Some people go to school to learn their craft and others learn on the job. Andrew did both at the same time when he started his design-and-build landscaping business in 2003 while studying landscape architecture at Virginia Tech. Once he finished his master’s degree in 2008, he created Greensward LLC and has been transforming outdoor spaces ever since. Andrew has always been focused on the balance between hardscaping and gardening, between extending the living space into the outdoors and integrating that space into the surrounding natural landscape. He sees this balance as the “complete package” of landscape architecture and makes the space a place people want to be.

Andrew enjoys projects of all sizes, from tiny urban yards to large outdoor spaces in the countryside. “The size of the project just changes your focus,” he says, “with smaller jobs, you tend to hone in on details and everything feels like it’s under a microscope, while larger projects require more of a big-picture approach.” And with that wide lens, he created the winning project, one where the home and the landscape were in conversation. This particular installation involved a hot tub, pool and pool house that Andrew and the crew stitched together seamlessly with the house and natural surroundings. “The landscaping is low maintenance, and the plant life serves to soften the hardscape, again creating that symbiosis and making everything feel cohesive.” 

Whenever he begins the design process, Andrew likes to get a sense of how the homeowner lives and how they envision using the space. “They wanted the pool and poolhouse to be a place for entertaining, for gatherings where people had space to socialize, splash and enjoy summer living,” Andrew remembers, “and then as landscape architects, it was our job to take our client from general notions, to what the space will actually look like and how it will function.” The outdoor kitchen attached to the pool house needed all the amenities, including an ice machine and refrigerator for maximum poolside hospitality. For this project, they used a 3D modeling software to give the homeowner a real sense of the physical space. “You could move through the space like it was a video game,” points out Andrew, which allowed him to not only show the client how the space would look from several angles, but how moving through the backyard might feel in real time.

Despite the project going smoothly, Andrew used the standard natural obstacles and weather hiccups to reflect on how he approaches challenges in his work as a whole. “We’re creative people, and that comes through in our design, but I think it also shines in the way we deal with hurdles,” says Andrew, a sense of pride in his voice, “whether it’s rethinking a design element to get around an obstacle, or it’s bringing in a contact who has a solution outside of our expertise, thinking through problems is a creative act and it’s one I think we do well.” 

That creativity is a key aspect of everything Greensward does, from inspiration to final touches. Andrew draws inspiration from a wide array of sources, from gardens he visited while traveling, to natural elements on the job site. One particular project was based entirely around an old tree on the property that had recently died. “Sometimes a job is based on something abstract, something conceptual. We had a job where an old oak tree that was very important to the client had died, and the whole project became about honoring that tree and its historical significance.” 

One of Andrew’s big takeaways from his years in the industry is more about people than it is about pavers. “Understanding people is such an important aspect of this job,” says Andrew, “the more you can empathize with homeowners, with their concerns and fears, with bad experiences they may have had in the past, the better you can try to assuage those fears and reassure them. Just being a good listener and understanding that someone is trusting you with their living space will make you a better contractor and make the process so much smoother.” 

No matter what the future holds for Andrew and the team at Greensward, we know it will be full of creativity and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.


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The Crew:

Patrick Riley
Evan Whidby
Tim Gump
Barry Cate
Melvin Requeño

The following Belgard products were used in this project:

Dimensions 12 – Cheswick