Get to Know Landscape Architect Quincy Hammond

A diamond-patterned boxwood parterre centers on an Artistide Maillol sculpture.HC&G: How does a girl from Georgia end up designing gardens in the Hamptons?
Quincy Hammond, founder, Quincy Hammond Landscape Architecture: My father ran a plant nursery that had been started by my grandfather, and he made my brother and me work from the time I was 10. I hated it—it was always hot, like 100 degrees! My parents didn’t want me to pursue art when I went to university, so studying landscape architecture was my sneaky way of doing something creative.

Hammond's panel garden at the entrance to the Abercombie & Fitch flagship store in Paris features boxwood, hornbeam, and lindens.And now you have offices in both New York and Georgia.
Yes. I was in Atlanta for a bit after college, and then went to work for [landscape architect] Ed Hollander in New York City. But when my uncle died unexpectedly and left me the family homestead, which dates from the late 1800s, I went back to Georgia to take care of things. It shifted the trajectory of my life, and I took that tragedy as an opportunity to do my own thing. I started my own firm, and some clients followed me, including Abercrombie & Fitch. Despite having two offices, though, I try to keep only about six projects active at a time, so I can see them often and be present during installations.

Your work has a European sensibility to it.
I’m a little conflicted about it. Wherever your garden is located, the plant palette that nature allows you to use should automatically determine a sense of place. But I have studied a lot of European gardens and have been fortunate enough to travel often to Europe, where I have projects in England, France, and Spain. I’ve also gone to nurseries in Italy to tag plants for clients.

The owners of this Southampton estate first met at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. Qyincy Hammond rescaled the bench from the original drawings in the museum's archives.What’s your favorite European garden?
The Prieuré Notre-Dame d’Orsan, in central France. The hornbeams are beautifully trimmed into windows and walls, and one is clipped to mimic a stone tower at the entrance. There are even hornbeam buttresses you can walk under. The way the French can manipulate hornbeam is incredible.

What defines a Hamptons garden for you?
I am always amazed by the presence of huge trees on East End properties. And hydrangeas, of course, which grow so beautifully in the Hamptons. Plus, the generous use of gravel: I like the softness of it, the feeling underfoot, and the sound it makes. It’s a casual material, but it works even in the most formal gardens.

A version of this article appeared in the September/October 2016 issue of HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: A Formal Affair.