Florida Style & Design: Serenity Garden

Star landscape designer Fernando Wong cultivates majestic outdoor spaces for a Palm Beach island home

Jasminium nitidum. Conocarpus erectus. Zoysia matrella. Tongue-twisting binomial terms such as these might sound completely foreign to you… unless you happen to hold a degree in horticulture. Conversely, superstar landscape designer Fernando Wong (right) is well versed when it comes to these trees and plants, and while he’s more likely to refer to them by their common names (star jasmine, silver buttonwood and diamond zoysiagrass), it’s the magic he does with these and other species that has earned him celebrity status.

The talent behind some of South Florida’s lushest landscapes, Wong was hired by a private client to create a spectacular exterior environment that rivaled designer Ray Booth’s amazing interiors. “I was very lucky to collaborate with Ray Booth as well as the homeowner on this wonderful project, and was consistently made aware of the furniture layout so that it could play into my concept for the landscape,” says Wong.

This Everglades Island home’s pool is centered on the main rear entry—and acts as a link to the outdoors, which is complemented by multi-tonal greens and open to sweeping vistas.

After considering several possible schemes, the team collectively decided on the one seen here. The pool is centered on the main rear entry to this luxurious home situated on Everglades Island—an oceanfront island separated from the mainland by the scenic Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Worth Lagoon. “When you’re sitting on the patio enjoying the beautiful pieces selected by Ray, you’re also enjoying beautiful panoramas,” he explains.

Using his keen instincts, Wong created thoughtful processions of multi-tonal greens while always staying mindful of the many doors and windows that open onto glorious vistas.

“The transparency of this home is an important factor, so we worked very hard to create harmony among the interior and exterior spaces,” says the designer.

It’s no wonder that this client enlists Wong time and again for her multiple homes … and she’s in good company. Fernando Wong is one of the most highly sought-after landscape designers in the state, if not the country. Wong is currently juggling several high-profile projects that lie between his Palm Beach and Miami offices.

He is also working on several properties in the Caribbean, and reeling from the popularity of “Clipped”—the six-episode topiary competition series that debuted on Discovery+ this May, where Wong appears among a trio of judges that also includes Martha Stewart and lifestyle/landscape expert Chris Lambton.

He is busy, but ecstatic. “It’s a super exciting time,” says Wong on behalf of himself and Tim Johnson, his partner in life and business. “But it’s what we wanted, so we do it with enthusiasm.”

This story is from the July/August 2021 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.