As his namesake landscape architecture firm wraps up its 25th anniversary year, Lanson B. Jones reflects on what got him here—and what’s next.
Lanson B. Jones keeps two one-dollar bills in his desk, both dated Dec. 21, 1994. Both are from friends-turned-colleagues who wanted to be responsible for the first dollar he made as the owner of his own business. “That first year was one of the most exciting and scariest times in my life,” says Jones of the year he started his landscape architecture firm, Lanson B. Jones & Co.
A modern take on an English garden, with formal lines and soft plantings, and a custom fireplace built by Lanson B. Jones & Co.’s mason
“I always had the mentality that I wanted to grow this business,” he says. That wasn’t always a close reality during those first days, working out of his home office with only one other consulting employee. But Jones’ vision was always clear: “With great design, great quality and a love of knowing people, [we can’t be stopped].” And they weren’t. Twenty-five years later, he has projects like the Julia Ideson Library, The Huntingdon high-rise and more under his belt, as well as a portfolio that will soon extend from Houston to Paris and back again.
At the Courtland Place garden clean lines and crisp edges were a top priority
Jones credits the firm’s evolution to his ability to delegate. And it must be noted that to whom he delegates is a key part of his success. His team includes landscape architects, but also a range of architects, designers and professionals who think outside the box and can execute a landscape to live in harmony with the built environment—not fight it. Another credit to the firm’s growth is creativity. In 2015, it launched an events arm, LBJ Floral Events, a natural next step, according to Jones, who solicited his own services when his daughter got married last month. “Yeah,” he says with a laugh. “It’s been a big year.”