By Delle Willett
A few years ago, I went to the San Diego County Fair and began at my favorite place, the garden displays. I was taken by a display designed by a young landscape architect named Navid (pronounced Na-veed) Mostatabi. It was a clean, modern design using materials I hadn’t seen before. At the time, Mostatabi’s business was an award-winning firm called Envision Landscape Studio.
Today it’s Land Aesthetic Inc., offering design/build services for projects all over California and San Diego County, with a focus on residential-scale, large estate-scale residences, and commercial properties. Land Aesthetic is known for clean modern designs using concrete, wood, and steel.
Mostatabi, 35, studied landscape architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, graduating in 2006. He was originally drawn to a career in golf course architecture, so landscape architecture seemed like the path to take to end up in the golf-course-architecture world, he explained.
He chose this career because he had always been fond of sculpting the land since he was a kid.
“It started with building dirt bike jumps and continued into high school when I decided to build a golf putting green in our backyard,” Mostatabi said.
Mostatabi started his career working in a landscape architecture office and gradually transitioned into the construction management side of the landscape industry.
He confesses that the last couple of years he strayed from his natural roots and started listening to requests for artificial items like plastic lawns.
“Between artificial turf, vinyl fencing, and plastic decking, I feel like the definition of ‘landscape’ has changed,” he said.
He has always enjoyed the natural feeling of a man-made environment like a golf course or Central Park in New York City. “It’s my goal to get back to using more raw and natural material.”
Inspired by nature, Mostatabi has a passion for seeing residential projects come to life. A sample of his work is on Brant Street in Bankers Hill that had a backyard only five feet long before running into a five-foot-tall retaining wall.
“This project was special because I created a terraced garden that took an unusable backyard space and created a series of steeped terraces to carve out some space from a hillside. We used concrete block, steel, and wood to make the project come to life and retain soil from a very steep hillside,” he said.
Another home in Point Loma gave Mostatabi the opportunity to work with his talented friend, landscape architect, Rich Risner (Grounded Landscape Architecture), to improve a historically significant home.
Risner designed a unique driveway that was a series of large rectangles that looked like a curve from a distance. Mostatabi did the build and planting for the project, “significant because we had to work within the limitations of improving a historic property while making a substantial improvement to the original boring asphalt driveway.”
Another home in Point Loma is a concept design for the backyard, also a collaboration with Risner. Mostatabi did the design development and construction on the project, significant in that it proves modern-style landscapes can work with many different types of architecture — even simple cottage-style architecture.
“When I provide landscape contractors’ names to my residential clients, I always put Navid’s name at the top of the list. He gets my design style and the overall modern aesthetic that I’m trying to achieve,” Risner said.
A resident of Pacific Beach, in his spare time Mostatabi enjoys exploring different environments like the desert and mountains on foot, skis, bicycle and motorcycle. Out in nature, where he finds his inspiration.
— Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.