LeBlanc cultivates just as close a relationship with her clients. “First and foremost, my philosophy is to design a landscape that is appropriate and suitable for the unique needs of the client,” she says. “Every project is new, fresh, and unique. I really feel it’s a collaboration.”

LeBlanc summered on the Cape and gardened throughout childhood. As a science major in college, she nonetheless nurtured an artistic flair. Then, “for whatever reason,” she relates with a chuckle, she went to work in marketing for a residential developer, where she sat though conceptual design reviews. That was it for LeBlanc; a new career was born.

One of LeBlanc’s recent projects, on Popponesset Island, came as close to ideal as the veteran landscaper can imagine. First and foremost, the owners and the architect (Vladimir Janovsky of Lincoln) were enthusiastically involved. Because they started with what LeBlanc calls “a blank slate,” her first step was to assess the property’s layout, nearby roads, and neighboring houses.

“There were some great challenges on the site,” LeBlanc says. The oceanfront location meant sandy soil, windy weather, and strict conservation guidelines, which LeBlanc embraces. She is grateful for the opportunity to protect local ecology with environmentally sensitive designs and practices. The Popponesset project featured liberal use of native plants. “One of the things I’m really striving to do is make native landscapes appealing,” she says. “Minimizing water use is important to me.”

LeBlanc talked with the Popponesset couple about plant material choices and the family’s outdoor activities. “You have to be a little bit of a sleuth,” she says of her work. The family spends a lot of time outside, hosting lobster bakes and summer company. LeBlanc spent many happy times plant shopping with the husband. “I love it when folks are engaged,” she says.

The best part came recently, when LeBlanc went back to check in with the homeowners. “They were so happy,” she says. “I thought, We nailed it.”

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Mary Grauerholz

Mary Grauerholz is the communications manager of the Cape Cod Foundation and a freelance writer.

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