Insight from a Landscape Architect

Insider Scoop: Mike Goergen of Southview Design

Landscape architect, MIKE GOERGEN, joined Southview Design in 2015. He recently won an award for Excellence in Landscape Design from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. We asked him about his thoughts on the landscape industry. He has a few tips for homeowners considering a landscaping project.

In your opinion, what is Southview Design known for?

Great communication, high-level design, and excellent installation. And we stand by what we build.

Top tip for homeowners contemplating a landscape project:

Landscape companies have been busy since the pandemic, making backyards restful, enjoyable spaces. If you have been thinking about renovating your landscape, don’t be stuck in “what-ifs”. Get the ball rolling, be real with the scope of the project, and have a budget number in mind.


Want to enhance your curb appeal? Consider a beautiful new sidewalk, low-voltage lighting, and fresh plants.

What single feature do you recommend for instant curb appeal?

Functional, beautiful sidewalk to the front door, night lighting, and fresh plants.

The modern look of large format pavers softened with plant material and natural textures.

What is a landscape trend you love?

A “soft modern” look with clean lines.

What landscape trend you are over?

Personally, I am over large water features. Many clients prefer smaller water features like bubblers and fountains. They are calming and create great ambiance, but don't require as much space or maintenance.

Clean and simple designs are a timeless addition to any backyard landscape.

What classic element will never go out of style?

Clean, simple lines and focal points. Focal points should be a “wow” moment in the landscape.

As a landscape architect, what is your forte?

Considering all aspects of a site is important, from drainage to sun angles, how to build the project, and the effect on adjacent properties.

What is your favorite project to design?

Small backyards top the list. Love the challenge in constrained spaces. You can do a lot with a little. I also enjoy designing poolscapes.

An experienced landscape designer will consider all aspects of the project, from drainage to sun placement and more.

How do you help your clients reduce costs?

There are a few ways to do this. First, responsible phasing – don’t do things twice; second, consider changing the hardscape materials; and third, review the scope of the project. The goal is to design a plan the homeowner can afford.

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