Meet the Michigan Native Known for His Palm Beach Landscapes

Keith Williams’ inherent knack for landscaping blossomed from his Bloomfield Hills yard


Williams incorporates pergolas from Detroit Garden Works; 248-335-8089;

When he relocated to Palm Beach from his Bloomfield Hills hometown, Keith Williams had not anticipated crossing paths with other metro Detroit natives in the affluent Florida town. Today, he and his business partner at Nievera Williams landscape architecture firm have amassed a clientele of Palm Beach’s most prominent individuals — including a handful of Michigan notables, too.

“It surprises me how many people I meet from Bloomfield Hills,” says Williams, who has designed landscapes for leaders in metro Detroit’s auto industry and beyond. He adds that many Detroiters own homes in Palm Beach to escape the Midwest during its cooler months. “It’s right on the beach, it’s got tall green hedges, big beautiful trees, the weather’s great. I’m lucky because my clients in Palm Beach really focus on the exterior of their homes. That’s ultimately where they want to be when they come down here — outside.”

With a background in graphic design, the former Kalamazoo College student accepted a job in the advertising department at the Palm Beach Post where he worked his way up to a management role over the next nine years. But it was his passion for art that led him to the landscaping field.

Williams spent his days off painting and selling his work. Landscape designer Mario Nievera, then a friend and buyer of his artwork, spotted Williams’ knack for plant life when he naturally oriented an arrangement during a visit to his office.

“I didn’t know too much about landscaping (although my mother’s a master gardener and always had me doing yardwork), but it just came natural to me,” Williams says.

Nievera, who had recently started his own business, took a chance on Williams and the rest, as the saying goes, was history.

“Painting was an artistic release for me and this job ended up substituting that,” Williams says.

As a newcomer to the industry, Williams found himself working on the estates of Leonard and Ronald Lauder, heirs to cosmetics conglomerate, Estée Lauder Companies. “That was an awakening for me because it got real — real quick.” From there, Williams developed relationships, gained referrals, and eventually, his name was on the door as a partner at Nievera Williams landscape architecture firm.

“I get to meet some of the most amazing people,” says Williams who describes his signature design style as clean and organized. “Not just celebrities, but people who have done some amazing things in their lives, whether they’re philanthropists or they’ve invented something or they’re hedge-fund people — and a few celebrities doesn’t hurt.”

Lush florals at the Fischer home in Palm Beach, Fla. 

Williams on Cool Clients:

“David and Jennifer Fischer are from Bloomfield Hills. Their winter home caught fire so they did a complete renovation. We came up with a modern design and played around with a lot of things that most people wouldn’t pick up. For instance, there’s a stone terrace that we made look like it’s floating. At night, it’s lit with fiber optic lighting, and at the front of the house, you have to walk over a water feature to get into the front door. It was a fun project.”

On Design Staples:

“I like to use items from Detroit Garden Works whenever possible,” Williams says of the Pontiac garden shop. “They have great containers and planters and these really cool fountains that I use. They also have a lot of other unique accessories.”

On Trend Forecasts:

“I’ve noticed that most of our clients are becoming more conscious about how much waste it takes to take care of large properties. Rather than purchasing big lots, they’re downsizing because of maintenance and sustainability, which is nice. You appreciate [small spaces] more. They’re a lot more personal and design elements don’t get lost.”


Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Web Exclusive: Meeting the Beatles

Fifty years ago, a Detroit-area teenager won a contest to meet The Beatles.

Rocking in Style

John Varvatos and Alice Cooper talk about their musical and fashion influences — and Detroit’s comeback

Fresh Fare

Treetops Resort's Farm2Fork events tap the bounty of local producers.

Well-Versed in Classics

DSO oboe player tools around town in a rare pair of turquoise 1962 Lincoln Continentals

All Dressed Up & Ready ...

Cobo Center is still a work in progress, but Auto Show visitors will notice a host of improvements
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Makings of the Shinola Hotel
    When the Detroit brand’s first foray into hospitality opens its doors, it’ll offer customers...
  2. My Two Christmases
    An Armenian-Iranian, Detroit-based writer reflects on transposing the holiday across continents
  3. New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn Style
    Tips for celebrating 2019 from the pros at Brooklyn Outdoor
  4. Main Review: SheWolf
    Born in Detroit but inspired by Rome, SheWolf takes diners on a culinary journey
  5. The Art of Gifting
    Metro Detroit tastemakers from all walks of life offer a glimpse of what’s on their holiday...
  6. Comeback Catering
    Dish, in Detroit, pushes through hard times with consistently delicious food
  7. Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.
    How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business
  8. Precious Metals
    Layering necklaces, stacking rings, and placing bangle upon glitzy bangle: a definitive guide to...
  9. Food Recipe: Braised Beef Brisket
    Chef Aaron Lowen, of Empire Kitchen & Cocktails, shares one of his favorite holiday recipes
  10. An Hour with ... Ricki Friedman
    Founder, Break the Weight