Make Your Florida Home OUTStanding
By Steven O. Evans, PhD
Zensations Garden (1725 NE 4th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305), just steps away from Wilton Manors, offers a luscious variety of lawn art, tropical plants, and exotic sculptures. Owners, Elsa Almenara and Alida Biaggini, put their personal touch on not only the selection of items to give your landscaping that unique South Florida beauty, but also provide their customers with the knowledge and guidance on how to create a truly “Zensational” Garden.
Visit www.ZensationsGarden.com or call (954) 945-5858 for more information or send your questions to their email: Sales@ZensationsGarden.com. OutClique Magazine chatted with Elsa about creating the perfect outdoor space.
Steven: Elsa, where are you from and what motivated you to create Zensations Garden?
Else Almenara: We came from Venezuela and decided to invest in the U.S. on a landscaping and maintenance company many years ago. Fortunately and through hard work, we developed a good knowledge of plants and trees for Florida during our operations. With this in mind and after making a trip in 2013 to Southeast Asia, and falling in love with their culture and exceptional crafts, especially with the water fountains, Buddha statues, and their zen style of design in their gardens and homes, we decided to open at the end of 2013 our first garden shop at the Flamingo Gardens Park in Davie, Florida. Since our opening, we have enjoyed so much our relationship with clients and “new friends” we made from our store. At the beginning of this year, we had the opportunity to open a second location right next to the Fort Lauderdale High School in Wilton Manors to serve the east side clients more directly.
SE: What kind of services do you offer to your clients?
EA: We are principally a retail store for garden enthusiasts; offering excellent prices on plants, trees, palms, pottery and mulch. We also provide landscaping design and installation adjusted to the areas to be landscaped and the theme or type of landscaping clients would like, such as Mediterranean, Asian, Japanese, tropical, formal, and minimalistic. Also, we can draw 2-D plans with the proposed design and lastly, we provide design and installation of Low Voltage landscape lighting for residential or commercial properties.
Our store also has an area of statues (Buddhas, Dewis, Ganesha and other carvings), garden lanterns, and water fountains. We are direct importers of these fixtures and sell them at very good prices.
SE: What kinds of things do you recommend to make a beautiful Florida landscaped home?
EA: Nice combination of plants and trees and/or palms with balance throughout the landscape and finally, harmony between clients and their new setting. You can enhance the theme with fixtures or pottery around the landscape as well. We mostly look for areas in the homes that require an enhancement or beautification to stand out. For example, if they want to install a spa in their backyard, we would design a suitable landscape around this area always taking into consideration our client’s dreams.
SE: How do you help your clients decide what is right for their homes?
EA: If the client requests my assistance at the shop, I ask them to show me their house in photos if they have, and also I pull out the house address in Google Maps to have an idea of its location with respect to light (sun, shade) If they require a consultation at their house for a complete or partial landscape, I set an appointment to their home to discuss the landscape they are dreaming to have installed and/or make suggestions of plants or other materials that will beautify their house. I take a good deal of time explaining what will work and what would not, depending on the location, size of area to be landscaped and the position of the sun and shade in it. If our client is not well aware of the types of plants, we provide information on each of the plants to be used as well.
SE: What types of plants are the easiest to care for and why?
EA: Succulents and the agaves or cactus. They do not require much attention and small amounts of water. Some palm trees are self-cleaning so you do not have to hire professional tree trimmers to do the job that nature will do.
SE: For someone who is just starting to landscape their home, where is a good place to start?
EA: I would suggest to come and visit our store and I will help them with the selection of the plants or else, I will come to their house and propose a landscape design suitable to their home.
SE: How did you come up with the idea of importing Buddha statues and Asian themed pots and accessories for the garden?
EA: Southeast Asia is just an adorable place, their people are very nice, respectful and they just “take their time” to do things. Nothing is a rush. Their simplicity is translated to their arts and artifacts, and I just fell in love with all this when I visited. I think that their combination of modern and wood decor (e.g., teak, daybeds) in their architecture together with the Buddha, water fountains, stone lanterns and other artifacts they make, really makes your home more enjoyable, simplistic and beautiful.
SE: What are some local organizations you work with?
EA : We work with the Flamingo Gardens organization, where we have our first store, the Pride Center and now, the Equality Garden Club. We are in the process of contacting other garden clubs to share our experience.
We would like to thank OutClique for this opportunity to show a little of our enthusiasm and willingness to help each and everyone that comes to our store seeking help with their garden.