Designing great outdoor spaces and an engaging social media presence

Posted On March 3, 2024

We have talked before in this space with experts who tell us we need to harness the power of social media to build our personal brand, and build our business.

Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” is someone who’s putting that advice to good use. Catherine Arensberg is a landscape architect in Mobile, Alabama, who has built quite a social media presence. She has 26,000 followers on Instagram, more than 5,000 on Facebook, and 8,000 on YouTube, where she hosts her own web series: Simple.Honest.Design.

She’s done it by being authentic – followers have told her they appreciate that she doesn’t always wear makeup or get dressed up – and by providing useful information that shows her level of knowledge, from identifying plants to hiring a contractor.

“The goal is just to have more people educated on what is happening in their yard,” she said. “We don’t just talk design; we also talk industry. Because I think as much of a risky thing or a scary thing it is to hire a designer, it’s very scary for people to hire contractors, because a lot of people have had bad experiences. So it’s what to look for, what questions to ask, that type of thing. I just try to be helpful.”

It’s not all shop talk, however. She also sometimes talks about whatever she happens to be thinking about that day. That authenticity is helpful for potential clients who want to get to know someone they’re thinking of hiring.

What Arensberg does is, for most, a luxury. She describes her job as “like an interior designer for the outside … understanding how people live their lives and creating a space that basically puts all those elements into a beautifully designed space.”

Doing that job well requires a certain level of trust on the part of the client. Arensberg’s social media presence plays a role in starting that process – getting the potential client comfortable with her as a person.

“People want to hire real people,” she said. ‘In my business, you’re essentially hiring a custom artist to create something for you. So before you hire that person to create something custom for you, you want to know that you can trust them, that they’re going to listen to you, and that they’re going to be easy to work with.”

That’s also important because part of her job is also convincing clients they don’t really want what they think they do. Many people are thinking more about how to use their outdoor space since the pandemic, but Arensberg makes sure their wish lists are practical for how they actually live.

“So much of my job is just having conversations … to really get down deep as to how they’re going to use the space in a really practical way,” she said. “It’s never a judgment. It’s understanding the truth of a situation. It’s a matter of me being able to give you what you truly need and not what you think you want.”

An example is outdoor kitchens that aren’t connected to or near the house. “It needs to close to your back door,” she said, “or you will not use it.”

Categories: Blog, Entrepreneurship, What's Working with Cam Marston