Second Nature Designs
Meet an Extraordinary Landscape Designer, True Garden Whisperer, and Scenery Savant
By Diane Alter
With an innate understanding of plants and an uncanny ability to bring gardens to life, Reneé Clermont–owner and personal designer of Second Nature Designs–possesses an enchanting vision and touch that turns landscapes into flourishing, har-monious realms.
Like many who find their calling, Reneé’s path to hers was not exactly straight. A New England native, Reneé headed west to Seattle for a winter off with friends and to become a certified floral designer. Upon returning and settling on the Vineyard, Reneé started working at a local nursery that also housed a floral department. But it wasn’t the familiar flowers that called out to Renee. It was the perennials, trees, and shrubs.
It wasn’t long after before the entrepreneurial Reneé started her own gardening business. From modest beginnings more than a decade ago, the business has since morphed into a blossoming establishment with a crew of five and some 75 clients who range from commercial customers to residents wanting whimsical window boxes.
A huge part of Second Nature Designs’ success is indeed thanks to Renee’s instinctive ability to visualize a finished project simply by scanning the surroundings and crafting a design in her head.
“My eyes can quickly gaze over an unfinished path, and I can see it leading to a gracious garden,” Reneé said. “I can look at a mulched area or unfinished lawn peppered with a few uninspiring shrubs and picture a luscious landscape.”
It does seem like Reneé was gifted with a magical prowess to weave nature’s secrets into an exquisite tapestry of colors, textures, and fragrances.
Textures, including stone, play heavily in Reneé’s designs.
Texture adds depth and visual interest.
Varying textures, such as smooth leaves against coarse bark, create a dynamic and balanced landscape. It also enhances the sensory experience, allowing for a richer connection with the garden environment, Reneé explained.
Stone, meanwhile, serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It provides structural elements like pathways, retaining walls, and borders. Aesthetically, stones contribute to the overall design by adding texture, contrast, and a sense of permanence. Arranged in various patterns, stone creates focal points and/or complements plantings, enhancing the garden's visual appeal, Reneé continued.
Still, Reneé is a big fan of a kaleidoscopic mixture of colorful flowers and aromatic blooms. Oversized white, blue, and pink mop-head hydrangeas are a favorite and do particularly well in the Island’s acidic soil.
“Some of my clients are here just for the summer months so I want to give them the biggest visible and fragrant punches possible,” Reneé shared. “Year-rounders tend to lean toward a more sustainable approach. That said, naturalized sustainable gardens can be designed in such a way that they don’t look weedy.”
A Proven Winners® Certified Landscape Professional, Reneé said her business model is three-pronged: gardening, landscape design, and coaching.
“Part of my garden coaching includes personal shopping visits to local nurseries, instruction, and maintenance tips,” Reneé said. “Together we plan and select items that will work and hold up to things like deer, which have a high-density population on MV. Of course, I love them–but I love them from afar.”
Every one of Reneé’s designs, either large or small, is a labor of love and a journey to where nature meets artistry. Without question, Reneé is a creator and curator of outdoor masterpieces that blend sophistication with the Island’s landscape and natural allure.
Discover Second Nature Designs, a bespoke approach to landscaping and gardening, and discover how your outdoor space can be transformed into a living work of art.