An Introduction to BML Studio

Welcome to BML Studio, a premier landscape architecture firm located along the Beautiful Jersey Shore. Our team of talented and experienced professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional design and planning services for both commercial and residential clients in the area. Whether you’re looking to transform a commercial property or create an oasis in your own backyard, we have the expertise and creativity to bring your vision to life.

At BML Studio, we understand the importance of designing outdoor spaces that not only look beautiful but are also functional and sustainable. With a deep respect for the natural environment, our goal is to create landscapes that seamlessly integrate with the surrounding views and enhance the overall quality of life for our clients. Whether you’re looking for a simple garden design, a backyard upgrade, or a complex commercial project, we have the knowledge and expertise to make your dream a reality.

So, if you’re looking for top-notch landscape architecture services in New Jersey or the surrounding area, look no further than BML Studio. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help bring your outdoor space to life.

What is a Landscape Architect?


Landscape Architects are more than just landscapers or guys that tell you where to plant a bush. We are stewards of the land. While most people associate Landscape Architects with planting designs, our skills are far more reaching. In fact, Landscape Architecture is a licensed profession in all 50 states.

Landscape Architecture is a blend of art and science. It’s a form of art where the expressive medium is alive and dynamic over time. Most artists and engineers spend a lot of time making sure their creations look and function the same after 20 years, or even longer. Landscape Architects spends time envisioning how the design will evolve over time. They must envision how the plants will grow; how sun and shade patterns will change; the effects of freeze and thaw cycles, and how constructed features will begin to wear out. It takes a lot of thought to create a visually appealing landscape, but it requires a lot more education, creativity, and experience to plan for the future.

As an example, in addition to trees, shrubs, flowers, and other types of plants, a residential landscape may require the addition of decks, outdoor kitchens, irrigation, pools and spas, structures, and children’s play areas. A landscape architect is someone who can design all of these elements and integrate them into a logical and visually appealing plan for your property. The Landscape Architect must consider how much sun and shade will be on the pool upon initial construction, as well as down the line when the trees and shrubs grow. We must also consider how the play areas will be used and how those spaces will be used once the children are grown.

A landscape architect can also assist in determining the best way to incorporate lighting, hardscape elements, and plants (softscape) into your outdoor spaces. A Landscape Architect is able to design outdoor structures, knows how to deal with site issues and challenges (like drainage or slope problems), and is be able to advise homeowners on locating driveways, pools, decks, parking areas, entries, and other elements. They can also assist in locating, or relocating utility service lines. At BML Studio, we are familiar with landscape construction materials and services, and can work with you towards your budget.

In addition to residential landscapes, Landscape Architects also design parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, and other projects that help define a community. Currently, landscape architects are working with medical professionals to design landscapes that help reduce stress, boost immunity, promote physical activity, and cut down on time spent in hospitals. Landscape Architects are often consulted for the development of assisted living facilities, alzheimer care facilities, hospitals, and other medically related developments.

Landscape Architects can assist in the design of green roofs and living walls. These features help to reduce the carbon footprint associated with development and the introduction of impervious surfaces.


Why a Landscape Architect?


Every profession has varying degrees of experience levels and capabilities. The world of landscape design is no exception. In short, companies which offer landscape design services can be broken down into two major groups; Landscape Designers and Landscape Architects. While the names are similar, and to many the names are interchangeable, the difference between the two is significant.

Landscape Architecture is the art of creating visually appealing and meaningful designs that provide for individual and public health, safety, and well being, while being sensitive to the environment. Landscape Architecture is a unique art form in that the medium is alive.

Landscape Architect

A Landscape Architect is a state-licensed design professional with a degree in Landscape Architecture from an accredited college or university. Landscape Architects use their technical and artistic talents to plan and design the built environment. They consider light and shade patterns, drainage characteristics of the land, soil types, and other environmental factors which will influence the success of the landscape design. They create drawings, constriction documents, and specifications that dictate the allocation, arrangement, and construction of various land elements and resources. Practicing Landscape Architecture, or using the title “Landscape Architect” without having a state license is a violation of the Landscape Architects Practice Act. Landscape Architects are also required to have professional liability insurance which provides a level of protection to the client.

Through formal training, education, and experience, Landscape Architects can provide more than just planting plans. They are well versed in grading and drainage as well as the design and construction of hardscape elements, such as pools, ponds, patios, decks, outdoor rooms, living walls, arbors, pergolas, retaining walls, and other constructed features. Landscape Architects are trained in preparing professional plans and exhibits which can be used for visual presentations. This important when permits or zoning board approvals are required.

With knowledge and experience in design and construction, the Landscape Architect often acts as a representative to the owner during the construction process. Without any direct association to the contractor, the Landscape Architect can oversee the construction to ensure the owner is getting a quality product.

Landscape Designer

Landscape Designers are not licensed or regulated by the state. As such, there is no minimum insurance, education, or formal training required. In short, anyone can call themselves a Landscape Designer.

Some Landscape Designers are very well versed in plant materials and are very capable planting designers. However, if a designer is tied to a construction, or landscape company, it may prove difficult to obtain competitive bid prices. As a result, the owner is faced with various proposals from different companies; each offering a different design and price point.

Although some Landscape Designers will prepare plans and project specifications, they are often incomplete and result in change orders and “extras” during construction.

At BML Studio, all plans are prepared by a Licensed Landscape Architect.


10 Reasons to use a Landscape Architect

Whether or not you should use a landscape architect depends on your specific needs and goals for your outdoor space. However, here are some reasons why using a landscape architect might be a good idea:

1. Expertise in Design and Planning

Landscape architects have the training and experience to create functional, beautiful and sustainable outdoor spaces that meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

2. Cost Effective Solutions

Landscape architects can help you make the most of your budget by creating cost-effective solutions that balance aesthetics and functionality

3. Knowledge of Regulations

Landscape architects are knowledgeable about local zoning and land-use regulations, and can help ensure that your project complies with these requirements

4. Focus on Sustainability

Landscape architects are trained to design spaces that are environmentally responsible and sustainable, using native plants and materials, reducing water usage, and creating green spaces that help mitigate the impact of urban development.

5. Enhance Property Value

A well-designed outdoor space can increase the value of your property, making it a valuable investment in your home or business

6. Better Use of Space

Landscape architects can help you make the most of your outdoor space, by creating functional areas for entertaining, relaxing, and playing

7. Safe and Accessible Designs

Landscape architects are trained to design spaces that are safe and accessible, taking into account the needs of all users, including those with disabilities

8. Integration with the Natural Environment

Landscape architects work to create outdoor spaces that integrate with the surrounding environment and preserve the natural beauty of the area

9. Customized Solutions

Landscape architects offer customized solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs and style of each client

10. Long Term Benefits

Investing in a well-designed outdoor space can bring long-term benefits, including increased property value, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced quality of life

Ultimately, the decision to use a landscape architect will depend on your specific needs and goals for your outdoor space. If you’re not sure whether a landscape architect is right for your project, it may be helpful to consult with one to learn more about the benefits they can offer.

What is a Professional Planner?


Professional Planners (PP), often called Land Use Planners, or Urban Planners, help to create a broad vision for the community. We research, design, and develop community programs; effect social change, perform technical analysis of various community demographics, and educate decision and policy makers on current planning principles. Professional Planners are state-licensed professionals.

As simple as it sounds, Professional Planners plan. Essentially, a plan is developed through analysis of data and identification of goals for the community, or specific development project. The plan can be a drawn plan, such as a map, but it can also take the form of policy recommendations, community action plans, comprehensive plans, strategic plans, or emergency preparedness plans. When creating a plan, Professional Planners identify the strategies by which the community can reach its goals and vision. Planners are also responsible for the implementation or enforcement of many of the strategies; often coordinating the work of many groups.

In New Jersey, Professional Planners are considered experts the Municipal Land Use Law. This, along with their knowledge of planning principles and development impacts, qualifies them to provide testimony in support, or against requested land use variances.

Similar to Landscape Architects, Professional Planners are also licensed to prepare Site Plans for development and re-development projects that do not require stormwater management design.


About BML Studio

A Little Background on BML Studio

BML Studio LLC is a full service Landscape Architecture firm providing design and planning services to Architects, Engineers, Homeowners, and Agencies. The founder, and current President of BML Studio, Brian M. Leff, is a graduate from Cook College at Rutgers University, and is currently licensed as a Landscape Architect in NJ, NY, PA, and DE.  He is also licensed as a Professional Planner in NJ.

A NJ native, Mr. Leff, grew up with a love for the outdoors. Whether fishing, biking, golfing, or just strolling through the park, it was tough to keep him inside on a nice day. (sometimes even on the rainy days) After graduating from Rutgers University, the first few years of his practice were spent designing residential properties and estates for a design / build landscape company.  After that he, he joined a small engineering firm that provided the opportunity to expand his professional skills to include commercial site plans, conceptual master plans, and conceptual subdivision plans. He also attained his Professional Planner license and began providing professional testimony as a Professional Planner at Planning and Zoning Boards throughout the state of NJ. Working alongside talented and knowledgeable Civil Engineers, he gained a good understanding of how all the pieces of a Site Plan fit together and the various regulations that impact development in NJ. He also gained knowledge and appreciation for the roles of the development team members: the Owner, Architect, Engineer, Professional Planner, Land Use Attorney, and other specialized team members. He then joined a much larger firm which provided Mr. Leff with even more opportunities to further develop his professional skills. Expanding on his knowledge, he became involved with public projects such as parks, playgrounds, living shorelines, wetland and riparian restoration, and streetscapes; many of which have received awards and recognition.

During his time with the larger engineering company, he was also responsible for reviewing Landscape Plans, which were prepared by other engineering firms, on behalf of various municipal Planning and Zoning Boards. While many of the plans reviewed met local zoning ordinance standards, they often lacked aesthetics and were not sustainable. In general, it was easy to see how development projects were falling short of their potential. As most Architectural and Civil Engineering firms do not employ full time Landscape Architects, the Landscape Plans were often prepared, and signed, by other design professionals.

While the larger Engineering firms provide a greater scope of in-house services, which attracts more clients, their fees are equally greater. BML Studio LLC is changing the game by offering a full range of Landscape Architectural services at a competitive cost. This allows Engineers and Architects to provide quality Landscape Architectural services without the cost and effort in hiring a full time employee. Good projects attract good clients! Our process enables us to work as an extension of your own office. It also enables Homeowner’s to attain the services of a Licensed Landscape Architect at a cost they can afford before making any expensive improvements to their property.


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BML Studio