About Us

Growing up in Louisville at the boundary of a subdivision surrounded by farmland and woods I was lucky to spend countless hours in all seasons surrounded by nature, exploring caves and creeks. It certainly gave me a strong bond to wildlife and the environment. I was also fortunate to experience a childhood of world travel which I have continued in my adult life. My travel experience and study of gardens of different cultures has provided me with expertise in creating and appreciating all forms of gardening from European Gardens, Japanese Gardens to Chinese and South East Asian Gardens.

I came to Washington, DC to study Chinese at The George Washington University. Coming to DC brought the urban environment in focus but I was always looking for and exploring how nature kept finding its place; ferns sprouting in a shaded brick wall, cherry blossoms busting forth in the Spring.

I graduated from GWU with a degree in Chinese and minors in horticulture and botany. I furthered my education with an advanced degree in landscape design. I was fortunate to begin my career at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, where I was trained in estate gardening. Dumbarton Oaks also rounded out my academic knowledge of plants and design. Each season held new treats and deepened my experience.

In 1980 I founded my business. I was very fortunate to have as one of my first clients, Ms. Carolyn Agger Fortas, wife of former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. Ms. Fortas was intensely interested and invested in the art of gardening. In 1994 the garden was chosen to be highlighted in The Secret Gardens of Georgetown, written by Adrian Higgens, the Washington Post gardening columnist and the author of several books related to gardening. I was given free artistic license to continue to redesign and maintain the gardens until Ms. Fortas death in 1996.

My artistic abilities, scope of design sense and extensive knowledge of plant material and horticultural practices have provided me the opportunity to create and maintain residential gardens in Georgetown and the surrounding areas as well as commercial installations.

My inspiration comes from Cathedral Gardens and Labyrinths , Megaliths, Kyoto Raked Gravel and Moss Gardens, European Gardens, Falling Water, Dumbarton Oaks, the Primal Rainforest, and the Balinese Biosphere. Artist's who have inspired Richard include Isamo Noguchi, Andy Goldsworthy, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Frank Lloyd Wright and Roberto Burle Marx, among others.

My greatest strength is working personally with you to create an artistic space that reflects your gardening needs and tastes. The design process focuses on sound environmental and ecological principles, site evaluation, personal use and utility, always working within your budget. Our goals are to maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor living space, creating your personal sanctuary.

I have always preferred natural and organic solutions to pest and disease problems. Many times a cultural change will work, though sometimes plant selection needs to be reconsidered. “New Dawn” reflects a change in our world eco awareness, a willingness to reevaluate how we relate to nature and a connection on a deeper level to the forces and energy our garden spaces and experience hold for us.