The whole nine yards • Great Spaces

Posted on 14 Apr 2010 at 11:52am
By Rich Lopez

Shahid Malik’s evocative landscape designs will bring a timeless oasis to the home


With both a green thumb and a green eye, Malik (below) worked with the architecture of the home and echoed its design in the stark metal plant beds while accessorizing the landscape with trees and stones.



One look at Shahid Malik’s own home and it’s easy to see he has style. The white palate of his Oak Lawn home is clean and sophisticated with a beautiful aesthetic. That continues to his outdoor fountain, which he designed himself. The stonework, greenery and water have a cohesion that turns his otherwise everyday patio into something else altogether. And this is just in his own home.

Malik is originally from Pakistan but found his calling in Dallas. After a slew of jobs, he discovered his hobby of working with nature could also be his job. This led him to start a simple yard business of mowing and trimming lawns. But as his clients wanted more in the appearance of their yard, Malik’s eyes began to instinctively see something new.

"When I lived in Pakistan, I always liked working with my plants. And here, I used to have an apartment with a small balcony, but we had the most beautiful flowers and plants. People would ask about it," he says.

Now, he’s the owner of Malik Landscape & Design and his company will still mow your yard, but it will also bring an element of beauty that’s beyond any bed of perennials. Malik brings architectural elements to his design that not only add to the value of a home, but provide something every homeowner wants — a neighbor’s envy.

Working with the customer, Malik comes up with a design based on the client’s vision. Sometimes the vision is entirely the client’s, but Malik’s perspective is not lost. The collaborative effort translates into works of landscape oases that are part garden, part artistic and all complementing the design of the homes. The company’s flyer boasts "out of the box" thinking as the "cornerstone of the company’s philosophy."

"The work is hard and labor intensive, but all my designs are timeless. They don’t use flowers so much. It’s more about the green and stone colors and also the upkeep. The less upkeep it can be for the client, the more they will probably appreciate it," he says.

Some of his work includes heavy boulders and rocks laid precisely on top of each other with no filler. Like a puzzle, they fit together and gravity keeps the stone walls and borders in place. He’ll create gardening beds out of metal welded into modern angles. Or he will line driveways with magnolia trees of just the right size that neither dominate nor disappear into the overall look.

But he knows with the current economy, not everyone is willing to jump into the high-end cost of adding his landscape design and architecture to their home. His company even took such a hit that he almost shut down. Having that empathy, he works hard to keep his current clients happy and allows his reputation speak for itself.

"Fancy lawns were probably the last things on people’s minds," he says. "But sometimes it can be just as costly if people try to do it themselves."

Not that landscaping is impossible, but Malik sees too many times when people buy all the wrong items for their brand new designs — if they can be called that.

"People will go to Home Depot and buy everything that is pretty. But that won’t work. There are things to think about."

Malik says first to come up with a plan and draw it out. This at least gets the outline going of the space you want to allot to a design and what functions you may want it to have. Designs can accentuate but can also work for the house with walkways or shade.

Next, figure what it is you want in the design. Flowers, grass, stones and plants are all the usual components, but it is important to determine what kind of attention you plan on giving to the design. Green thumbs may revel in tending to the greens, but minimalists may just want the style of it without devoting much attention to it. Sprinkler systems may figure in at this point.

Mostly, Malik mentions the biggest mistake is getting overzealous and buying a bunch of flowers and plants that simply won’t work in your space. The Dallas heat and its unpredictable nature isn’t always good for, well, nature. Although these mistakes can be costly, they aren’t irreparable. In fact, Malik could sweep in to save the day.

"People shouldn’t think I just do high-end designs. The company also does maintenance, pruning and fertilization. If people run into these problems, they can call me. I can help get them out of their problems and get them on the way to a very nice landscape."

For information about Malik Landscape & Designs, call 214-675-7947 or e-mail shahidmaliq@yahoo.com.

This article appeared in Dallas Voice’s Great Spaces Magazine April 16, 2010.

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