Backyard Brilliance

Oklahoma’s innovative landscape designers talk about their favorite and most luxurious projects.

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Climbing the Walls

A succulent wall designed by Laurel Leaf Landscape. Photo courtesy Laurel Leaf Landscape.

A succulent wall designed by Laurel Leaf Landscape. Photo courtesy Laurel Leaf Landscape.

Daniel Meunier, owner and operator of Laurel Leaf Landscape, might be a newcomer to the Oklahoma gardening scene, but he’s already made quite a splash. While widely experienced in many types of landscape architecture, Meunier also specializes in a form of landscaping known by many names, including “vertical gardening” or “living walls.” Meunier himself calls it “living art.”

He believes the use of walls as planters adds an entirely new dimension to gardening. But, he says, “I took it a step further. I design these picture-like planters and arrange plants in them to either hang outside, inside or both, depending on the hardiness.” The result is a visual masterpiece.

Meunier studied horticulture at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (a program famed for the quality of landscaping artists it produces) before going to work for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Before that, however, he apprenticed under a very special mentor: His grandmother.

“My grandmother was a very passionate person for life, family and about horticulture. I shadowed her as a child in the gardens that she had, and she shared with me little things about life, God and the ways of the world while we were gardening. It was something very special to me, and after her passing in my early 20s, my passion and gift for horticulture ignited into my full-on passion and purpose in life,” he says.

Meunier recently worked on a Zen garden for clients that included one of his hanging pieces – a 3-by-3-foot cedar box with a stunning yet peaceful array of succulents, completely self-sustaining and hardy, even in the most frigid temperatures.

“Using nature as my medium and the garden space as my canvas, I found I could create such elegance and beauty with design and affect not only me but others around me in such a positive way,” he says.

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