We had the good fortune of connecting with Duane Border and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Duane, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was fortunate to grow up in a supportive family who always encouraged my artistic side. I couldn’t resist drawing in the margins of my Algebra notebook, building models, and completing as many paint-by-numbers sets as my mom could put in front of me.
Our family has a strong connection to Central Indiana agricultural and I was one generation removed from living/working on a farm. The life of an artist was a foreign concept, but I knew I wanted to find a way to be creative and problem solve, so a “traditional” office job wasn’t in the cards.
Once I found landscape architecture the two sides came together. We’d spent generations respecting and living in concert with natural systems because the family’s livelihood and work ethic was connected to the land, but I could draw and color for a living by creating environments for people to live, work, and play.
What should our readers know about your business?
BORDER is a landscape architecture studio focusing on restorative landscape design and its ability to positively impact daily lives. We build opportunities to engage with the natural environment and create a lifestyle that immerses people in outdoor spaces. This is a “simple” idea that’s incredibly difficult in the increasingly urban environments of Southern California.
Building a business around this approach has been incredibly rewarding but also challenging. The real estate and development market is incredibly competitive, with a wide variety of influences, costs, and requirements. Differentiating ourselves is critical, so our mission is not to meet the design brief, but to provide solutions clients didn’t know they could achieve. This maximizes the return on investment made in landscape design. Without that we wouldn’t be able to achieve our professional goals and responsibilities as stewards of the land – reduced heat gain, increased soil permeability, enhanced biodiversity, and water conservation.
We also build personal relationships with clients and collaborators. Since the start of the studio, we’ve developed a list of dedicated clients who’ve become more than an email address or square on Zoom. I believe one of the most influential factors in this is operating from a position of “yes” to instill a positive mindset in our clients and our studio designers. Welcoming a challenge and being confident in our ability to succeed, in large and small ways, permeates throughout daily operations.
The business is growing and I’m excited about every new opportunity, large and small, to continue with our mission and approach. Even more, we’ve assembled an incredibly talented and passionate team to take the studio to the next level, servicing our current clients even better and expanding to new business opportunities.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is famously a destination city and I’ve taken to embracing it by using the different destinations to show the city in-between. Every neighborhood, community, or smaller city within Greater Los Angeles gives residents and visitors a chance to “find their vibe”.
Growing up in Indiana I’ve been enamored with the Pacific lifestyle since I was a kid, which has me starting at the edge of LA – from the end of the 10 to Pt. Mugu. Driving PCH is a great way to spend an afternoon then spend sunset/early evening at the Griffith Observatory (James Dean bust is a highlight for a kid from Indiana).
Other musts: Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, Boss Sushi in Beverly Hills (favorite local restaurant), a Dodger game at Chavez Ravine, and nightcap with a cigar on our balcony in View Park.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be here without my family who’ve encouraged my creativity and my fiancé, Stephanie, without whom I wouldn’t have had the courage to turn that creativity into a successful business
Professionally, Don Molnar, FASLA was my first inspiration in landscape architecture. At the time, he was head of the landscape architecture department at Purdue University and enthusiastically signed me up, on the spot, for design studio and horticulture.