“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1811
At CMLA, we combine the principles of traditional European garden design with the modern needs of our clients to develop unique yet timeless outdoor spaces. Respect for a site’s history, architecture, and natural features informs our design solutions and enables us to create truly distinctive gardens. Whether the project calls for the design of a small courtyard, or the masterplan of a large farm property, our initial approach is the same. We take the time to form relationships with our clients, and to truly understand their needs, desires, and goals before settling on a design concept.
The unique and varied skills of our team as well as our relationships with carpenters, craftsmen, ironworkers, and masons across the southeast provide us with the unique ability to manage the design and implementation of our projects from beginning to end. Beginning with our on-site consultations and documentation of existing site conditions, we conduct extensive land analysis and carefully consider soil conditions, slopes, and natural water features before beginning the master plan. Master plans often include schematics for planting, swimming pool design, timber management, and siting. Once approved, we provide ongoing project management by our professional landscape architects to ensure proper implementation of the design.
Once project implementation is finalized, our team of skilled horticulturists tends to each garden year-round to ensure enduring landscapes throughout the southeast for generations to come.
Carson McElheney was principal at Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design from the time he established the firm in 2011 until his untimely passing in 2021. A lifelong resident of Atlanta, his body of work respects the regional vernacular, preserves and honors historical accuracy, and is both smart and sensitive to today’s modern lifestyles. With a love and appreciation for classical architecture, he crafted elegant landscapes ranging in size from courtyard gardens to large estates, gentlemen farms, and waterfowl impoundments. His work was influenced by the work of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for their respect of the natural landscape as well as the partnership of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edward Lutyens for their harmonious garden rooms and exquisite hardscape designs.
Carson’s wife, Susan Joy, and two children spend their time in the nearby historic neighborhood of Haynes Manor and the family’s farm in Georgia – two of Carson’s most treasured places.
Kaitlyn Peake and Katie Gregory, as well as Carson’s trusted team, are honored and proud to uphold the work of our beloved founder as we expand upon the foundation he laid at CMLA. His weighty influence in design thinking, commitment to excellence in his craft, and passion for nature’s beauty guides the team daily.