Not all lawns are created equal. David W. Young, the landscape architect behind such notable exteriors in the region as the Aquadisia estate on Siesta Key, earned some national acclaim last year, picking up an Ultimate Outdoor Award from HGTV. Film crews came through town in the winter to shoot spots for the network and showcase the work done by Young and his firm, DWY Landscape Architects. SRQ sat down with Young to discuss the important elements that fill the scenery of his life.

Botanical Gardens

I like the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Miami because you can see what is doable on a site within Florida using our plant palette. When you go to a botanical garden, you see a little bit of the native species, but also all the species that can work within a region. Look at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with its epiphytic collection, or at the Naples Botanical Garden where they have some wonderful royal palms—something I have an affinity for now. For me, it’s about confirming ideas and getting thoughts on plant material, and about being able to see them in their full-grown form.

Mom & Pop

My parents were instrumental in giving me direction into landscape architecture during a time when I was, frankly, spending too much time on the beach. They saw something in me I didn’t see: an appreciation for design, art and drawing, along with a love of architecture and nature. My mom stitched those things together and said, “What about landscape architecture?” Suddenly, my path crystalized. I can’t imagine anything being as satisfying as what I do. With the uncertainty kids are faced with in finding their path, a career is an important decision to make, and you need to make sure you love something and have a passion for it.

Florida Cuisine

I enjoy mullet for breakfast with grits. I often have that with my dad in Naples when we go out for breakfast; it’s what we shoot for in a menu. It comes down to local fish and the idea of supporting the local restaurants and fisheries, and about recognizing that the fish coming from our waters here are fresher.

Craft Brews

I really enjoy the craft breweries in the area. I love good beer, ales in particular. I like something that’s not too hoppy, nothing with too strong of a taste. I think ales are little bit mellower than lagers, which can have too much of an acid taste to them. But oddly, my favorite brew right now is a Samuel Adams lager.

Jason Bourne

I love the Bourne series of movies. I guess the science aspect of that, with the conspiracy and espionage, all boiled into a movie—that’s the kind of movie I enjoy going to see with my kids.

College Textbooks

All my architecture and history books are still here. I drag them around and hold onto them—I keep them in my library at the office. I still have Architecture: Forms, Face and Order and Newton’s Design on the Land. Those are probably two of the most helpful books to me. I look fondly at them as the beginnings of my professional journey.

Porsche 911 Series

It’s a passion outside of my means, but I love nice cars. The Porsche 911 has been my favorite since before I can remember; that same design has been continually updated since the ‘40s. Even though it has gone through changes, it’s still identifiable. A client of mine has one. One day. That’s a lottery kind of dream.

Family Photos

Some of my most cherished possessions are photographs. My wife and I took some nice ones on our honeymoon, and of course I have pictures of my kids. But they are all on my phone now. I have a nice camera but I never break it out because the iPhone is so easy and compact.

Longwood Gardens

It’s located close to Greenville, Delaware, where my in-laws live, so I end up going there when we visit them. It has a wonderful water garden, an incredible orchid house and a cascade garden by the late Roberto Burle Marx. 

Cheap Coffee

My favorite is Cafe Bustello, with a little cinnamon thrown in there. It’s a nice, mellow-bodied coffee that isn’t expensive. It’s something we love. I get up early and have a cup. I relish it every day.