Roberto Cecchini Executive Producer, The Artists Company Victoria Residence, Uplands, BC
I am Renée Marie Newell's first Vancouver Island client and she has worked for me for over 7 years and I am thus in a unique position to critique her professional services. In brief I am a working professional living full time in Los Angeles and cannot imagine how the eighteen projects she has managed spanning interior decoration, home maintenance, internal construction and a 4 year master design for the gardens could have been implemented with anyone but Reneé .
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent under her scrupulous supervision and accounting.
Every aspect of the upkeep of a large house and gardens has been maintained as if it were her personal residence and at a very fair rate schedule.
I would be willing to supplement my recommendation of this remarkable professional with a brief personal call with anyone contemplating such an important decision.
In my view, there is no one comparable in the field.
Renée has been in our employ, as a Master Gardener, during 2013. She has been instrumental in implementing the plan which we jointly determined to redesign our garden. In working with our staff, and incorporating the trades available to Reneé, we are very pleased with the results that she has achieved in a relatively short period of time. Renée has a passion, which is reflected in her dedication to design, but furthermore to her desire to ensure her clients’ complete satisfaction. Additionally her vast knowledge of plant material is considerable. We have no reservations in recommending Renée Newell.
Katherine & Tom Retired Professors, McGill University Fairfield/Cook Street area, Victoria, BC
One of the reasons to move from Montreal’s concrete centre ville to Victoria was the possibility to have a real garden – something to enjoy in retirement. It was a long journey, however, between that idea and the reality of our now verdant, flowering oasis. The yard of the old house we bought was overgrown with weeds, decaying trees growing in odd places, and a mishmash of plants.
It is with thanks to Renée Newell’s multi-faceted expertise as a Master Gardener (and once president of Victoria’s prestigious Master Gardener Association), that this journey was made possible. Like many amateurs, we thought things could be fixed up with a few trims and plants. Reneé had to sweetly coax us into an irrigation system, professional removal of many trees and bushes, hardscape the gently-sloping property with terraced beds and two new patios, softscape the flower-beds with berms, pruning or replacing trees in a manner that still protected our privacy, new soil and grass, and raised wood planters for the herbs attached to the arbor. In retrospect, are we ever thankful all this was done. As a manager Reneé was superb, getting the best quotes for various jobs, keeping everyone on schedule, and graciously demanding perfection. It was now time for the fun part. As reports of midnight visits of deer in the neighborhood increased, much thought went into what plants we could use to discourage their voracious consumption in the ever-so-vulnerable front yard. So far so good! Reneé patiently worked with our requests on colors and use of lots of dahlias in the front and delphiniums in the back. Her extensive knowledge about plants and diligence in hunting them down helped us to incorporate many long-blooming perennials that will make next year’s gardening much easier. Summer on the patio is now fading but the excitement of seeing the fall composition is on the horizon. Spring bulbs are still to be planted next month, but we have already seen the vibrant colors of the camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and wisteria last spring. All this has fulfilled an aesthetic longing. Expertise counts in almost every endeavor, and we are most fortunate to have benefited from Renée's deep love of her profession and how that has made her as well an enthusiastic teacher to help us care for this creation.
Michelle Monahan-Brar and Kam Brar Langford Lake, BC
We had an established landscape which was planned and planted by previous landscape contractors. We were not satisfied with the variety of bloom and colour, it was also lacking a vibrance and order. Renée came and did a thorough assessment of our landscape before even beginning to make recommendations, taking care to ensure that our thoughts and opinions were considered. She carefully devised a plan to make use of our existing plantings wherever possible, in some cases moving plants in other areas to showcase them differently. Renée has a keen eye for colour, and recommended some vibrant planting choices to beautify both our existing landscape and our summer pots, which greatly increased the enjoyment of our backyard all summer long. She also took other factors into consideration, such as how plantings and colours would enhance our home's cedar siding.
All in all, we highly recommend Renée, she has a natural talent for landscape design, careful implementation of the plan, and making sure that the client is satisfied at every stage of the process!
Timothy and Lori Spray Fernwood area, Victoria, BC
Renée has incredible vision. Our back yard was overgrown and without form. She was able to take our yard, our ideas and guide us in a very personal process to what is now our beautiful new yard. Her commitment to staying within our budget while expanding our horizons is a testament to both her character and her expertise. I cannot recommend Renée more strongly enough. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about working Renée.
Just over two years ago , my husband and I purchased a 6 year old home with a moderate front garden, and large side yard. The previous owners had cut down and trimmed up the garden prior to putting it up for sale. With our lack of garden experience, we thought it looked full, but tidy.
Then came Spring and summer. The bamboo bushes grew to be 12 ft trees in just a few months. You couldn't see our front porch anymore. The laurel bushes on the side yard also grew sky high and wide, leaving no walk space to the beautiful gate to the rear yard. We needed help. These had to go.
Renee was an acquaintance, and I knew she had a great eye for gardening at her own home, so she was the first who came to mind to call in for consulting. My husband meanwhile pulled out all those giant bamboo trees, and we found some cute bushes underneath.
Renee came over for a sit down consult, inquiring if we had any idea or vision for how we wanted the yard to look. Well, 1) Not overgrown, hiding our home, whimsical gates and awnings; 2) Easy care as far as weeding went; 3) Quaint, fanciful and fun, yet classy enough to suit the neighborhood.
At first I thought we should ground cloth the entire front yard and cover with beach stone to mirror our ocean views, with smaller plants scattered about. Renee wisely talked us out of covering our entire yard in stone and suggested a dry riverbed, with breezy grasses, pieces of driftwood,larger shrubs that wouldn't grow too big, and several types of ground cover that would eventually keep down the weeding.
With her crew, the front and side gardens were stripped to an almost clean palette, yet she kept lots of our shrubs to be re-positioned later. I had a collection of fun objects,which she carefully incorporated in the garden as well.
The result? You can now see our house, the gates, and everything looks so open and clean .
We relied entirely on her extensive knowledge of plants, and design, and let her just take over. At the end of each day, there was always a surprise. We were quite giddy. It is beyond what we could have imagined.
I love driving up to our house. Still surprises me. The neighbors who walk the sidewalk stop and comment on how lovely and clever the design is, especially the dry riverbed with its driftwood, shells, and breezy grasses.
An absolutely perfect refection for our ocean view home.
Leslee Farrell Waterfront and Luxury Residential Specialist Victoria, BC
It is my pleasure to give Renée Marie Newell my highest recommendation as a competent, creative and caring professional. I readily refer Renée to my clients, with complete trust that she will go the extra mile in service, and give nothing but qualified and carefully thought out advice. Her vast array of skills make her perfect in her position as residence manager, and her accredited Master Garden status sets her apart in landscape design. I work with very discerning clients and know the importance of communication skills and integrity. Renée will not disappoint you, and most likely will exceed your expectations.