Victoria Trucco studied architecture in Colombia and had wanted to earn a master’s degree in urbanism. However, her dual citizenship caused her to not be eligible for a scholarship at Penn State.
“I had two small children and could not afford the private university for urbanism,” she says.
Her husband, Ray Rueda, was relocated to America for his job with a computer company and she ended up earning her master’s degree in landscape architecture at Florida International University. She graduated in 1995 and immediately started working for other landscape architects, drafting designs for them.
After having her third child, she started working part-time for landscape contractors. One day she visited a jobsite and saw the contractor had installed the design upside down at the request of the client. She began supervising the installation of her projects after that.
She says her favorite parts about working in the industry are resolving a design challenge and spacing out the plants in the installation.
“What we do is something beautiful,” Trucco says. “We make places more enjoyable. We’re lucky we’re in a business where we have to deal with the positive things. We’re the last of the renovations. People are tired of all the contractors. We are the happy factor because plants bring joy.”
Trucco says her background in architecture plays a major part in her designs.
“When you study architecture you study art history, art proportion, harmony, balance and you also learn a trade of drafting,” Trucco says. “When you tackle the landscape and outdoor spaces, you are creating architecture just like you would with an indoor space, but bigger. You use the same design principles.”
Trucco says designing and supervising landscape projects was her joy time. Eventually, she began selling her projects for one of the landscape contractors as well. Rueda encouraged her to become independent and in 2003 she started Nature’s Dream Landscape based in Pinecrest, Florida.
In the wake of 9/11, her husband’s computer company went out of business and he ended up working for Nature’s Dream as well.
“All of a sudden what was a joy job is now a necessity job,” she says.
Nature’s Dream is now a full-service company, offering design/build, residential maintenance, commercial work, lighting, irrigation and tree service. Rueda became an ISA certified arborist and a state-certified irrigation contractor. She says when her husband joined the company, they had to adjust to working together.
As for raising her family and running her business, she says her husband has been very supportive.
“My husband has learned that to have me happy he had to have a hired help in our home,” Trucco says. “I’ve never done things of the home like cleaning and cooking. The kids went to school and landscaping was my joy. Was it difficult being a mother and working? The truth is no because I had help.”
Five years from now, Trucco says she would like to have two design assistants and enjoy time with her grandsons.
“It’s a blessing the business we are in,” Trucco says. “When I go to the schools and talk to people about careers on career days, I tell them people don’t think there’s a good business here, but it is a good business. I thank God that people like landscaping in America and understand the risks involved, and the need for a professional. There’s plenty of work and the day’s not long enough for the list of people we have to produce designs for.”
She says they’re very generous with their competitors and share their knowledge with others because there’s enough work for everyone. She says her mentors in the industry have been her professor Ted Baker and Ralph Egües with the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance.