Sitting across the table from Justin Lindabury, you’d think he was the progeny of Tom Brady and Matt Damon.
Justin is unique in that he has always known he wanted to be a landscape architect. You could say that it’s in his blood. He comes from a family of horticulturists and nursery owners, and this makes him somewhat of a unicorn in the industry. Very few landscape architects have known they wanted to be an L.A. since the age of 16.
Justin was recently promoted to principal here at TBG Partners, so we sat down with him to ask him a few questions about the person he is, what he likes and what drives him.
This is his story.
A Long-Time Love Affair with Horticulture and Art
Justin’s family owned a nursery and garden center that his grandfather started in the 1950s. “I grew up there—always among all the plants.” After it was passed on to his father, his grandfather started a horticulture vocational school in Naples.
High-Energy Kid Grows Up
More confirmation came when he spent some time in Europe. “I visited Europe when I was 16 and when I came back, I really tried to figure out how to combine the beauty I had seen – places like the Palace of Versailles and Notre Dame – with the amazing landscapes I saw.” He knew there had to be a profession out there that blended the two and that’s how he decided on landscape architecture. It was the perfect mix of art and horticulture.
Growing up the youngest of three kids, Justin describes himself as a little bit high-energy. “I was always trying to keep up, which is probably where I get some of my work ethic from.” That high-energy kid is still within Justin and evident if you spend time with him.
When he was in high school, he worked for a design-build firm and his first day on the job had him in the parking lot of a Ritz Carlton in the dead heat of summer, weed eating a wetland – with snakes. Post-college, he vividly remembers working on a design development set for a hospitality project for 23 hours straight – although, the project never was built. Justin laughs as he tells this story. The thing about Justin is that he always takes everything in stride.
Side note: High-energy is something Justin will need if he ever decides to complete that trans-America bike ride (east coast to west coast) he’s been talking about.
On Design and Finding Success
Justin has always admired his older sister, Tara. “There’s so many reasons, but she’s one of the most selfless and kindhearted people I know.” Tara was a mechanical engineer in Austin for many years before she decided to transition her career to the nonprofit world and has now landed in her local government as Deputy to Supervisor Saylor in Yolo County District 2. “She wanted to make a difference in the community in which she lived. It’s been really amazing to see what she’s done in the last few years. I look to her as an example for how to give back.”
It seems to be an example he’s already begun living out in his life.
With every project Justin touches, he takes into account the user’s experience in the space he’s being asked to design. It’s not about him or his desires. “It’s about understanding the user’s needs – not just for day one, but also long-term. How will this space look in five years? How will it look in 10? In 20 years? And how do users experience these spaces differently as they age? That’s what design is all about.”
Justin’s definition of success isn’t a title, or a salary amount. He measures his own success by whether or not he’s inspired others.
Other Things to Know About Justin
Best vacation you’ve ever taken: Tulum, Mexico – our honeymoon
Would you rather be a giant hamster or a tiny elephant? Giant hamster…in a giant Kia
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Small town off the coast of Italy
Next up on your travel agenda? Florida, for Thanksgiving, and then Baja to stay at Liz Lambert’s Hotel San Cristobal
Favorite movie line? Can I give you a song lyric? My wife says I fall asleep in every movie. “If you dig it, do it. If you dig it a lot, do it twice.” – Jim Croce