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Benoît Cossenet is a fulfilled entrepreneur. Gardener for more than 30 years, he is today at the head of his own agency and realizes every day many dream exteriors. From the pergola through the ornamental garden, the terrace or the natural pools, the landscape gardener explores every corner of our exteriors with talent; today he tells us about his journey, sown with hundreds of plants and a hint of decoration!
How did you get started in this business?
I have always been passionate about nature! As a child, I wanted to become a farmer. But having no land, I quickly understood that the task was going to be complicated ... I was bored firmly on the school benches, so it was very young that I turned to a BEP in Landscaping, which at the time represented a completely new path. I went to study in the Vosges region, in a renowned horticultural high school: at the end of my training, I did not want to push my studies further because I was longing to be in the field! So I started working at the age of 17, first at a nursery in Château-Thierry and then alongside different landscapers all over France. I finally had the opportunity to start my own business at just 29 years old and I started!
How has the Benoît Cossenet agency evolved since its creation?
When I started the adventure, the future was very uncertain. Compared to other French regions, the inhabitants of Champagne-Ardenne are not great garden lovers. The region is much more devoted to agriculture than to ornamental exteriors! So I got in tune with the existing market during the first years, and fortunately for me word of mouth worked very well. I then moved away from private gardens to devote myself almost exclusively to public markets, before repeating the opposite approach a few years later. In the meantime, the company has grown: it now has 25 employees, all of whom specialize in a very specific field. The idea of offering "turnkey" sites greatly appeals to our customers; they do not need to call on several companies since our agency brings together all the trades. From the designer-designer to the mason, via the decorator or the pruner, each step of a site is supervised by us.
What are the most recurring requests today from your customers?
I would say that the big trend of the moment is a return to sobriety. Individuals now prefer to have a few "beautiful pieces" rather than a profusion of plants. Zen gardens and graphic plants are on the rise more than ever! In the same spirit, the mineral is taking an increasingly important place in the exteriors that we design: customers prefer gravel and XXL stone slabs on grass, because they are much easier to live in everyday life and require less 'interview. Finally, the vegetable patch and medicinal plants are making a noticeable comeback in private gardens, as customers increasingly favor natural products and home-made products.
Do you have plans for the company?
Of course ! We are always trying to diversify as much as possible, which is why we have been offering the installation of swimming pools and natural pools for some time, which integrate very harmoniously into the garden. Unfortunately these elements require a certain maintenance throughout the year, and I am not sure that the customers are ready to devote as much time to them.
Finally, what are your own tastes in terms of plants?
To be completely honest, I am more inspired by nature than by ornamental exteriors. I have an endless passion for trees, that's what drove me to do this job! In terms of gardens, I really like to walk around the Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, the Arboretum des Barres or the Jardin des Plantes in the city of Nantes. The latter, supplied for decades with a multitude of plants brought back from abroad by navigators, presents an extremely rich and varied collection of plants. //www.cossenetbenoit.com/