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 March 14th, the Preservation Foundation awarded the Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award to the Town of Palm Beach and Keith Williams of Nievera Williams for Lake Drive Park.
As we look to the future, challenges to our quality of life in Palm Beach are increasingly environmental and the decisions we make regarding our own landscapes play a vital role. Efforts to provide education on the benefits of landscape stewardship, through spaces like Pan’s Garden and collective action like the Town’s Green Initiative, have laid the foundation for a community with greater environmental awareness. The 2023 Smith Award recognizes the public-private partnership that has taken that work one step further through the beautification of Lake Drive Park.
For so many of us, seeing is believing and Lake Drive Park is noteworthy as the first municipal park in the town to emphasize the use of native plants. The success of the project all began with the Town Council’s visionary leadership in launching the Green Initiative in 2019. By educating residents on the dangers of pesticides and fertilizers, and adopting a native plant ordinance, they set the stage for one of the island’s leading landscape architecture firms to create a design using native plants in a way that was previously not seen in public spaces in the town. Whereas Pan’s Garden was designed to reflect natural habitats, Lake Drive Park is very much a reflection of Nievera William’s design philosophy and Palm Beach’s horticultural traditions. By grouping singular species of native plants together, their design instills a sense of order while also allowing the unique attributes of each plant to be fully appreciated.
The exceptional generosity of Palm Beach residents adds to the noteworthiness of the project. Of the $4.6 million budget, $2.5 million was raised privately with the remainder of the funds being underwritten by the Town, ultimately illustrating the community’s value of municipal parks.