A Georgia native and proud Nashville resident, Anne Daigh knows landscape the way that she knows the south — intuitively and intimately. As the founder and ‘Storyteller-in-Chief’ of Daigh Rick Landscape Architects, she is a successful entrepreneur who turned a passion into a profession. Knowing the value in her roots, striking a carefree cord, and stripping down the unnecessary — there is no doubt that this ‘you get what you give’ creative is paving the way for The New Southern movement.
The New Southern champions those that choose to be brave and Anne definitely knows what it takes. When she’s not traveling, collecting art, listening to music or cooking, she’s crafting approachable style and landscape design. Taking a leap into starting her own business and infusing her love of architecture, art and the environment into her work. Her landscape design has been found at exhibitions at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Nashville Antiques & Garden Show, as well as residences and commercials properties in and beyond the city. Bringing her voice and vision to local garden clubs, the Nashville Centennial Club, and the School of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Anne is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to design.
With an undying love for a good salmon and terra-cotta color combo and refined approach to Southern style...I was eager to learn more about where this fellow Nashville resident finds her visual inspiration.
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell us about yourself...
Anne Daigh: I proudly set my roots in Nashville, Tennessee in 2002, where I still currently reside in the vibrant 12 South neighborhood, after graduating with a BLA from the UGA School of Environmental Design. I worked for Page Duke Landscape Architects for 8 ½ years before starting my own firm, Anne Daigh Landscape Architect. As of 2018 I have joined into a partnership with Wade Rick, and the firm name has changed to Daigh Rick Landscape Architects, LLC. Our company focuses on high-end residential design, boutique commercial, and public infill projects. We recently opened an art gallery called Galerie Tangerine as a branch of the firm, which has successfully held four exhibits over the course of 2017. I also plan to introduce an outdoor product line made with sustainable products in the coming year. Currently, I’m sitting on the board of a grassroots project called Sweetgrass — which I hold dear to my heart. Its purpose is to create the first farm-to-table community near Nashville, TN, that is focused on serving active seniors, young families, and those with mild disabilities.
AR: Your landscape portfolio is filled with visual inspiration. How has your company contributed to the modernization or updated Southern style?
AD: When I think of what Southern style is today for the landscape, I think of simplicity. With the era of instant gratification and high demands, people want to come home to a relaxing and serene space. We are designing outdoor rooms with a “less is more” approach, which brings clean lines and structure to an exterior space while also providing a low maintenance and stress free garden. We then sprinkle pots and planters around as accents for that added warmth and charm.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with The New Southern style across the country?
AD: Front Porches. Front porches and rocking chairs are no longer just a southern thing. The bed swing has become a modern take on the porch swing, and it is a must for every porch!
AR: How have you mastered all the growth with your business and is there structure or tips you may share when you grow rapidly?
AD: I think letting go of control is a big part of expanding a business. I had to learn early on that I couldn’t do it all myself, and that delegating was key. Once I was able to take my ego out of it, the business started flourishing. Also, in doing so, I learned that some people can do a job better than I can, which has made each end result that much more fruitful.
AR: What advice do you have for creative entrepreneurs?
AD: Create a filter for yourself and learn how to say no! Once my business started taking off, I had trouble weeding through inquiries and responding to everyone, which was eating into my production time, and draining me psychologically. I finally hired an assistant to take care of this aspect of the business, and I had so much more time on my hands! I could finally focus on being creative again!
AR: What’s your life motto?
AD: You get what you give. I am a firm believer that whatever you put out in the world comes back to you in one form or another.
AR: Design advice you’ve received that made all the difference?
AD: I learned early on from my former boss, Ben Page, to shoot for the stars when creating a design, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope. Present the ultimate version of the client’s desires as a comprehensive plan, and then discuss budget. You can always scale back or phase out the design later on. If you present a mediocre design, it simply lowers the bar and the expectations from the client. As designers it is our job to have a vision, and sometimes the client doesn’t know what they want until they see the plan. After seeing the ultimate vision they may place a higher value on the design and make every effort to make sure it is implemented.
AR: What’s the best piece of business advice you could provide for creative entrepreneurs starting out?
AD: If you are thinking about making the leap into starting your own business, I suggest calculating the bare minimum amount of money that you need each month to survive on. Once you have figured out that certain amount, you can determine how you’re going to meet that bare minimum each month. You’d be surprised at how little you need each month to truly survive!
AR: What’s your advice for mixing old with new?
AD: Landscape wise, I love using traditional southern boxwoods as sculpted, low boxwood mounds, and then surrounding them with a mass of textural grasses or perennials, which creates a more modern look. I like the contrast of the hard and the soft, thus accentuating both elements.
AR: My momma always said…
AD: “When in doubt, punch it!” This is referring to quick, knee jerk decision-making while driving. In other words, don’t hesitate or second-guess yourself! This line has always stuck with me, and ultimately gave me the drive to branch out and start my own business.
AR: Tell us something we probably don’t know.
AD: Next time you eat a strawberry, you might ponder on the fact that the actual flesh of a strawberry is considered a swollen receptacle, and not a fruit. What categorizes the strawberry as a fruit, are the many seeds that blanket the outside of the strawberry — they are each considered a fruit.
AR: What’s currently on your nightstand?
AD: Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis is currently on my nightstand. It’s an intriguing combination of art history, biography, and gossip of Paris in the Belle Époque.
AR: The greatest color combination that ever existed?
AD: The greatest color combination that ever existed is salmon and terra cotta. It reminds me of dissonance created in a song, where two notes are played side by side. They are not a likely pair, but somehow it works. I love how the organic notes of terra cotta, when paired with salmon, help tone down the sweetness of the salmon, creating a muted effect.