Janiece Snyder Landscape Designs
229 2nd St., Manhattan Beach
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Janiece Snyder designs and builds outdoor living spaces, creating a flow between the home and the space around it. She grew up in Manhattan Beach, attended Mira Costa High School and played volleyball at Loyola Marymount University.
Janiece worked in sales and floral design in the early part of her career and started creating small gardens in the South Bay 28 years ago. Her firm, Janiece Snyder Landscape Designs, has evolved into full-property construction.
What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?
I found my passion for design as a florist in my early 20s. I saw the impact just a few vases could make and wanted to move on to something more permanent. Landscape design and horticulture have been in my family for a few generations. The exposure throughout my childhood certainly inspired me, but I found my niche as a young adult when I began to explore the landscape architecture of Los Angeles.
As a mecca of creativity and design, L.A. has also been truly inspiring. Whether it’s the neoclassical mansions in Beverly Hills, Frank Loyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Hollywood, the Getty or the classic bungalows near the beach, inspiration is hard to miss here.
Since the West Coast grapples with droughts and wildfires, climate change and environmental conservation have also played a large role in my career. I’ve found great joy in creating outdoor spaces that bring people together while utilizing native species and prioritizing environmental conservation.
What are some key qualities for women in leadership roles?
Leadership roles can come with significant pressure and setbacks. I believe some of the most successful women leaders exhibit remarkable resilience, adaptability and intuition while remaining on track to turn their vision into reality. Strong women in these roles also empower and motivate team members by setting high standards and providing the necessary support to reach their goals.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in business?
As a woman working in the male-dominated construction industry, I’ve certainly faced some challenges. There’s an unspoken expectation for women to maintain composure and compromise for the sake of others. While these norms put pressure on women in executive roles, I’ve used them as an opportunity to fine-tune my leadership style. If we hit a roadblock during a project, I’ve learned to establish my role as client advocate and project lead when I’m sitting in a meeting surrounded by male engineers, masons and inspectors. Respect is earned over time and is something I’ve been working toward since I started this company.
What does success mean to you?
On one hand, it’s putting the finishing touches on a project when a client asks me to expand or start on another section. That is a great feeling because it means they are happy with the work I’ve done. On the other, it’s the relief a client and I share once the permits are approved, the plans are finalized and we begin day one of construction.
Success in the design industry can be felt in the small victories, like deciding on a tile or light fixture, and in the large feats of installing massive retaining walls. I want to keep challenging myself and learning from others to improve my craft, which will continue the cycle of success.
What motivates you to go to work every day?
A big source of motivation has been my three daughters. While there’s a lot of flexibility in owning your own company, I have worked full-time their whole lives. My goal has been to show them how to be self-sufficient.
I’m also motivated by the design-build process. When I walk through a property during the initial consult, the wheels in my head start turning and I immediately envision the transformation. I love the design phase because the clients and I are constantly collaborating. The installation phase is also very rewarding because things come together quickly.
And I’m motivated by my clients because I know what it’s like to have construction ongoing in your home. You pray that whoever is in charge is thoughtful and experienced because it’s very personal.
What advice would you give your younger self just starting out in business?
To acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses early on. I spent a lot of time trying to “do it all” when I first started. Once I began expanding, I saw the value in creating a tight-knit team to overcome the challenges of taking on bigger projects and running a company.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Professionally, I see myself getting involved in commercial and city projects. There’s a significant amount of environmental inequality in neighboring towns to the South Bay, which is something I’m interested in addressing in the future.
A decade from now, I see myself as a grandmother with a regenerative farm, some chickens and a donkey, somewhere between L.A. and Santa Barbara. I’d love to have the space for a truly productive garden and maybe teach community classes on the practices of regenerative farming. I certainly want to stay involved with my community and share my love for gardening for as long as I can!
Photographed by Hudson Caceres