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Duchess Designs Biography

Duchess Designs, LLC has extensive, award-winning, international experience and has designed and produced a unique portfolio of creative, customized garden designs.
New Jersey garden designer Leeann Lavin’s Duchess Designs can make garden dreams come true. Garden Specialist and principal, Leeann earned a Certificate in Landscape Design from The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). She worked at NYBG for two years before heading to Brooklyn Botanic Garden where she served as the Director of Communications for five-plus years.
Leeann has a passion for all things relating to Garden Art and the magic of the garden. She has traveled extensively and visited botanic gardens around the world, particularly in Japan, China, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, and the United States, including Charleston, California, Chicago, Florida and the Mid Atlantic. In addition, Leeann has attended gardening symposia in Cuba and Filoli in San Francisco—all of which gives her design work an informed and eclectic perspective.
Leeann’s ancestors were gardeners and farmers. In fact, the Duchess Designs logo incorporates her British family’s gardening heritage. It was a delightful surprise to visit London and find the Museum of Garden History, which bills itself as the world’s first museum of garden history. The Garden History museum is located at the restored church of St. Mary’s—next to Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is where her great grandparents registered their marriage license. The seal from that license was borrowed to use as part of the Duchess Design logo. Leeann’s paternal grandparents were from Austria Hungary according to her grandfather (the Czech Republic now) – and she would help him in his family’s small farm. “Digging for potatoes was like discovering archeological gems.” Says Leeann. In addition, given her Dutch roots (Van Voorhees is her mother’s ancestry) and Native American Lenape heritage, it’s not a surprise she and the firm have been advocates for using native plants in the garden since launching Duchess Designs in 2000.
And the Duchess name is so very special because her Father nicknamed her Duchess as a child...


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