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Spotlight on a Tilly Designer: Cate

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa March 19, 2021


Tilly’s designers are the equivalent of our secret sauce - they’re what makes Tilly special and we love them for it! All of our designers are trained in the U.S. with years of residential experience, and we’re excited to introduce Cate, a veteran rockstar on the Tilly team. Check out the below to learn more about Cate, what inspires her, why she loves landscape design and more!

Why did you want to be a landscape architect?

I have always been drawn to design, whether it’s graphic, architectural, interior, etc. and I particularly liked the idea of design that could grow and change within its context.

Where did you grow up and how did it influence your designs?

I grew up in the Midwest and while I did spend a good amount of time outdoors, I think my main influence came from my college years in Arizona. I learned how thoughtful design and plant choices can make even a desert landscape appear lush and have a cooling effect. I will always love that red dirt!

Biggest garden mistakes you frequently see in homeowner’s curb appeal?

I would say that over pruning is something I see quite frequently. I really love choosing plants for their natural form and love seeing homeowners that will embrace a more natural aesthetic for their gardens.

Where do you draw inspiration?

Everywhere! One of my favorite activities is taking my kids to the Arboretum here in Dallas. They have done an amazing job of creating inclusive design that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Favorite garden style?

I love a balanced, clean modern design.

If you were a plant, what would you be?

I think I’d be a flowering ornamental tree.

In your opinion, what’s the most beautiful place you have ever visited?

I am definitely a city girl so as far as cities, I would say Paris was the most beautiful. For breathtaking- the Grand Canyon.

How many plants do you have in your home?

Sadly, only three. Hopefully after we get our spring garden in, I can jump back into plants for the interior!

Would you rather rake leaves all day or edge garden beds all day?

Rake leaves, or mow the lawn! I love the feeling of completing a big job.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

I love to run and bike on a trail right behind my house. I also love playing sports outside with my kids.

What’s your favorite part about Tilly?

My favorite part is the client interaction and the fact that I get to chat with people from all different areas of the country.

What’s been one of your favorite Tilly projects and why?

I worked on a front courtyard in Carlsbad, New Mexico that was a lot of fun. It was a fairly unique site and I was able to start with a blank slate. The home owners were amazing to work with. I also really enjoyed working on one in Austin that incorporated a variety of outdoor activities- skate ramp, gardening, stock tank pool, etc.

What’s the one thing people get wrong about your profession most often?

I think many times people stop at the word “landscape” and don’t fully understand the “architecture” or “design” that follows it. While, I’d love to help you diagnose the issue with your tree, I’m much better equipped to help you figure out how to use your outdoor space.

Favorite home/decor store(s)?

I have visions of a chef’s kitchen completely outfitted from Sur la Table. Also, a cool local shop in Dallas for interiors is Neighborhood.

Favorite food? (Just because, who doesn’t want to hear about food).

I love it all! Dallas has a great restaurant scene and pre-pandemic (and kids), my husband and I would spend our weekends checking out the new coffee shops and restaurants in town. I love being able to make good suggestions for out of town visitors.

Cate with her Kids!

Read more about: Designer Profile