New Market for Garden Designers?

I have been designing gardens and educating people about perennials for many years now, but only recently did I realize the true impact I had on people.  Well, one person to be exact – Cale.

Cale joined our company right after graduating high school.  He worked his way up from a laborer to a hardscape foreman – working with stone, modular concrete products, brick and mortar.  Cale was not overly social and kept to himself – or so we thought.

Turns out Cale is a well known Lego builder.  Yes, Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL) is big business and Cale happens to be one of the organizers of the local Penn LUG (Pennsylvania Lego User Group).  This group draws members from up to 3 hours away to monthly meetings to discuss Lego, models, new uses for parts, etc. and these meetings last 8-10 hours each.  This is intense!  And to top if off – the Lego company recently gave Cale a free ride to Denmark to provide feedback on new products.

So what does this have to do with garden design?  Several years ago I offered a perennial identification class to our employees.  I worked with these guys on a daily basis and it was fun to interact with them in this type of setting and to see who was serious about learning their plants and who wasn’t.  Cale never said a lot during these classes.  And why should he, he was a hardscape guy.

This winter my husband decided to join the Penn LUG group with Cale.  Not realizing the extent of Cale’s Lego alter ego, my hubby just wanted to expand on his childhood hobby.  It soon became apparent how serious this group of guys (and gals) was.

During one meeting, Cale shared with my hubby one of my greatest compliments.  Cale used the techniques I taught him in our perennial course regarding planting in drifts and using various colors and textures in perennial design and implemented it in a Lego model which was displayed at a national Lego conference.  This model was awarded “Best Use of Color” at Brickfest 2005.  So impressive were Cale’s landscapes that in 2006 he was asked to give a presentation on Lego Landscaping.

Who knew?  Maybe this is a market we need to examine further?  Educating Lego maniacs in the principles of garden design.  I’ll be sure to let everyone know as I am traveling with hubby in May to Raleigh, NC for Brick Magic 2010!

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About the Author

Wendy Brister

Wendy Brister grew up gardening, went on to college to learn more about plants, and is now – in a variety of ways - sharing with others the horticulture knowledge she has spent her life learning. Brister is an adjunct faculty member at Harrisburg Area Community College specializing in herbaceous plants. She is a consultant, lecturer and a landscape designer. She holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from Temple University Ambler. The self-described plant geek, with a special affection for perennial plants, lives in Eastern York County with her husband Brian, daughter Emma and her dog, Clinger.


  1. What a hoot! These are terrific!

    # Posted on April 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm by Susan
  2. Is there any value in using Lego to plan layouts to show to clients?

    # Posted on April 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm by MarkT
  3. Wendy,
    Great photos and good to see this bridge already starting. We host two National tv shows on DIY (ROCK SOLID and INDOORS OUT) and we have a great idea for stone design Lego sets. Kids or adults can create outdoor living spaces, fireplaces, patios etc….Check out our website and shows.


    # Posted on September 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm by Dean & Derek
  4. Wendy,
    These are great. We have an idea to create Lego Stone Projects for kids or adults. Check out our shows (ROCK SOLID and INDOORS OUT) on the DIY Network. Check us out on Twitter, FB and our website at “Dean and Derek”.

    # Posted on September 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm by Dean & Derek

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