The Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award was created by the Preservation Foundation in 2011 to honor excellence in landscape design. The award recognizes a landscape that is both in keeping with the character and traditions of Palm Beach, yet also original and forward-thinking.
On May 3rd, the Preservation Foundation awarded the Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award to Tracy and Matt Smith for their North Ocean Blvd Garden. The garden was reimagined as a serene naturalistic landscape when the COVID Pandemic halted landscaping services. Due to the lack of landscaping services, their original landscape design from 2011 started to fail, and it became obvious to the Smiths that radical changes were needed to create a sustainable landscape.
This led the Smiths to create the following parameters for their next landscape: the amount of maintenance and lawn care should decrease; pesticides must be eliminated; there should be more birds and butterflies, and it had to survive the salty ocean winds. Inspired by Kim Frisbie’s newspaper articles and the paths in Pan’s Garden, it was clear that native plants were the answer to their new landscape goals. During the award presentation, Director of Horticulture Susan Lerner stated, “This is a garden to experience, to live in, to wander, and to discover…it is a serene and secluded, private sanctuary, which will, over time, attract increasing numbers of birds and butterflies.”
The completed landscape was a collaboration that began with the vision from Tracy and Matt Smith and an initial design by Yates Burle Studio. The landscape continued to grow with additional plantings and design completion by Armstrong Landscape and Design, led by Doug Allard. The new design uses mixed plantings instead of monocultures and leans heavily, although not exclusively, on natives. Transforming from a vast lawn, the main property recreated a shady hammock, and the focal point in the backyard shifted from the pool to the immediate environment. Across the street at the beach cabana, the wind-buffering plants designed by nature for beach life create a lush environment that assists in stabilizing the ocean dune.