Landscape Architecture

The New Leaf Story

Established in 1987, owners Rick King and Whitney Schwab started New Leaf Landscaping with the wish to provide professional, courteous, and complete landscape services to residences in the Triangle Area.

New Leaf currently operates two separate, but complementary, divisions. Although originally started as a design and installation firm, so many of our clients requested maintenance services upon completion of their landscape project that the maintenance division was created.

New Leaf Landscaping’s Design and Installation Division includes three highly qualified designers, including:

Rick King – Rick has been designing and installing landscapes since he was a teen. His interest in gardening resulted in a degree in Biology from Franklin and Marshall College where he also managed their greenhouse. Now, with more than thirty years designing with New Leaf Landscaping, he instinctively knows what looks beautiful, “works” in the landscape, and what will thrive for years to come.


The Installation Team includes four crews headed by:

Whitney Schwab, Installation Manager – As one of the founders of the company, Whitney has become a master in all areas of landscape installation. His ability to oversee the many aspects of purchase and delivery of materials, organize the work schedule, and delegate responsibilities to the remarkable craftsmen that make up the New Leaf Landscaping crews. These skills combine to provide our clients successful and timely completion of their landscape projects.


Our installation projects range in scale from a simple planter to an entire site’s landscaping, including plants, irrigation, pathways, walls, terraces, fences, water features and drainage, and lighting.   Please take a look at our photo gallery for a few examples.

The Maintenance Team includes five crews managed by:

Uriel Vega, Maintenance Manager, has experience in both the installation and maintenance sides of our industry. He started working for New Leaf before 2004, and supported New Leaf in many capacities before assuming the important role of maintenance manager. Uriel is dedicated to our clients.

The Team
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Rick King

Lead Landscape Designer

Originally from Maine, After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Biology, Rick King came to Durham to attend graduate school at Duke University.  “I found that I wanted a ‘hands on’ work experience in the out of doors, rather than a job in research.  I had worked my way through college and graduate school in the landscape industry and it appealed to me as an outlet, both for my creativity, and as an opportunity to work outside”.  Rick takes a great deal of pleasure in creating beautiful outdoor spaces that reflect the clients’ need and preferences  for dynamic, colorful, active spaces, or calm, peaceful retreats. He is often heard saying “you live here, I don’t!  It must suit YOU.”

Whitney Schwab

Operations Coordinator

Originally from Chicago Illinois and graduate of Carleton College, Whitney joined Rick King in founding New Leaf in 1989.  Whitney is instrumental in transforming Rick’s and Sean’s designs from paper into reality. 

The skills required in getting a landscape design to completion are challenging, but Whitney’s expertise lies in handling the logistics of getting multiple crews and materials in place when and where they are needed.  The uncontrollable factor of weather notwithstanding, Whitney keeps the jobs on track and finished to the complete satisfaction of each client.

In addition to overseeing at least three installations simultaneously, Whitney directs irrigation issues, lighting, annual plant rotations, and pond maintenance.  It’s evident why he may sometimes be hard to reach, but he is always working toward completion of your project.

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Sean Anderson

Landscape Designer

Sean, originally from New York, graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Horticulture management and Landscape Design. "Ever since I could walk I would find myself in the garden helping my mom and dad. I always liked the idea of taking something and putting my own twist on it to transform it into something amazing. Thus, I quickly found a liking for designing." Sean greatly enjoys getting to know the client and being able to create their backyard oasis through his designs. He listens to his clients and properly interprets and enhances their visions. 

Uriel Vega

Maintenance Manager

Almost twenty years ago Uriel began working at New Leaf on a mowing crew alongside his father (who continues to work at New Leaf).  He quickly became interested in learning as much as possible about horticultural practices of pruning and maintaining all aspects of the landscape--grass, shrubs and flower beds.  As a result of the horticultural knowledge gained he was promoted to running the mowing crews.  Today he oversees all the crews and works with clients to make sure their concerns and needs are met and fulfilled.

Besides the usual maintenance schedule, Uriel coordinates the seasonal landscape work including mulching, overseeding and lawn aeration.

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Eloy Tapia

Service and Installation Facilitator

Eloy is a New Leaf old timer.  He’d like to keep his biography short and simply clarify that he is multi-talented (having held every position available at one time or another—maybe eventually he’ll master one and settle into it), good humored and clearly the best looking employee at New Leaf.

In addition, Eloy assists Whitney in securing supplies for projects and installing irrigation and lighting systems.

Cathy Boyd

Operations Manager | Accounts Payable

Cathy has many years experience working in a front office.  She came to us after years as a receptionist, office manager, and clerk for a variety of small businesses.

She and Denice (see below) are the voices of New Leaf, being the most likely ones to answer the phone.  She is likely the first contact you will have when you call or email us.  She or Denice are the folks to speak to if you  would like to make an appointment with a designer or if you have a question about your account.  You can also rely on Cathy or Denice to get messages to any other member of the New Leaf team/family

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Denice Esquina

Office Manager | Accounts Receivable

Denice has many years experience working in working with the public.  She came to us after years as a receptionist/manager for a pool company and has been with us since 2016.

She is one of the voices of New Leaf Landscaping.  She is most likely the first contact you will have when you call or email us.  She iswh to speak to if you would like to make an appointment with a designer or if you have a question about your account.  You can also rely on Denice or Cathy to get messages to any other member of the New Leaf team/family