Zen and the Art of Landscape
With almost four decades of experience under his feet, Paul Miskovsky has coaxed the natural world into a state of enlightenment.
After almost 40 years of working in the dirt, Paul Miskovsky, founder and owner of Miskovsky Landscaping in Falmouth, still exudes a boyish enthusiasm for creating spaces where people can play outside, as well as a never-ending imagination. His vast repertoire of transforming exterior landscapes spans from exclusive coastal estates to far more limited scenarios, such as blank canvases that are less than 1,000 square-feet allocated by venerable flower shows across the northeast, where the awards for his designs number in the dozens. His designs reflect a signature style that can quickly be identified as a “Miskovsky,” as though his followers were referring to a recognizable painting or sculpture by a world-class artist.
What has changed for Miskovsky is a certain mellowing that fine wines, thoroughbreds and a good soup experience with a bit of time. His operation is in full bloom and running smoothly with the addition of his son Roman, who now serves as the organization’s vice president, and years of support from his gardener team featuring Heidi Clark and Bridgett Carrol and David Alves, the foreman who has been alongside for over 20 years. Coupled with the years of earning and learning the Cape Cod landscape business, all indications indicate that Miskovsky and his team are operating from a place of insight and knowledge; an awakening of sorts.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Miskovsky says, “But I wouldn’t change a thing.” Today his “shop” is a four-acre parcel at the intersection of Brick Kiln Road and Gifford Street in Teaticket’s section of Falmouth. Just as other building and design professionals have showrooms to display their work while inspiring clients with a taste of possibilities, Miskovsky’s shop displays vignettes with unique outdoor furniture set upon natural stone terraces with the sound of trickling water from a completely original water feature. Evergreen, deciduous and perennial specimens of trees, plants, and ground cover create individual rooms where homeowners can literally pick and choose the flora and fauna that will create their own outdoor oasis.
“The idea was to create a place where people could actually see things in context,” Miskovsky explains. “Sit them down and show them a patio space or a stairway, a hot tub in a naturalized deck setting, or how a handmade bamboo fence can provide shade as well as definition of the space.
“There is so much in the market as well as in people’s private spaces, that many people never get to see, and it is difficult to imagine it. So here we install it, plant it, maintain it, and clients can now see how it really looks, feels and lasts.”
Despite 38 years of transforming landscapes, Miskovsky says there is always something new. “There are new varieties every year, but you can’t just jump on what’s new. I need to try it before I can recommend it.”
Speaking of new cultivars, in 2016 Miskovsky introduced a Panic grass that he trialed and patented called “Cape Breeze.” The medium height, floriferous ornamental grass has small purple blooms in the early fall, and despite being a Cape Cod native, exhibits versatility as it thrives in most any zone of the country says Miskovsky, whose retail partners have sold over 100,000 plants per year of the variety since.
Miskovsky encourages his clients to consider their yard and their overall landscape as a four-season opportunity. “Red bark in the winter against the snow, or exfoliated bark, or yellow evergreens–you are missing an opportunity if what you see from inside that house doesn’t excite you about what is outside the house,” he offers. In addition to variety and placement of plant material, Miskovsky and his team provide full-service installation of landscape lighting for their clients. He says providing the lighting directly for his clients allows his crew to make decisions about where to install both the lighting as well as the plant material, thus achieving exactly the look and effect he had originally designed.
The most important thing he says is despite the size of the project or the use of the space, for everyone, the garden has to work for them. “First and foremost, whatever property it is, wherever it is, it has to work for that particular person. Maybe they don’t want a deck, instead they need a patio because they want to be on ground level. If they want a water feature, we are experienced in creating waterfalls, so that isn’t a problem. Our raised beds are at a level where you can sit comfortably and work so you can garden much later in life. And we have a plan for those containers so they have interest all year, like adding evergreens, or bulbs for the spring. We build lifestyles.”
Roman Miskovsky, Paul’s son, followed in his father’s footsteps when he earned his degree from the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Known in his childhood as “Bobcat Boy” due to his countless hours on job sites as a youngster, he mastered the Bobcats at an early age. Today, Roman engenders a familiarity for anyone who has known or worked with Paul through the years. The saying about apples not falling far from the trees is apt given the nature of work the Miskovsky men embrace every day.
For most people, 40 years in a profession would be seen as a natural culmination of great effort, but not so for Paul Miskovsky. Perhaps it is the boyish spirit, or maybe it is the enlightenment he seems to have achieved that is contributing to a youthful embrace of his work. Quite possibly, working alongside his son has refueled his vigor, but whatever it is, the landscape across the Cape will continue to transform according to his vision, his creativity and his spirit for a long time to come.
For more information visit miskovskylandscaping.com.
Julie Craven Wagner is the editor of Cape Cod GARDEN.
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