Greening Roofs, Greening Savannah: Atlantic Star Design

There is no doubt that Savannah loves its green space. The built environment and nature have existed since the original city plan was drawn up, a necessary part of the culture and valued treasure that separates Savannah from other southern counterparts. No company recognized this more than Atlantic Star Design, a company that is equal parts landscape architecture and self-proclaimed “stewards of the land.”

Atlantic Star Landscape Architecture/Living Roofs LLC was established in March of 2010 by Registered Landscape Architect, Stella Ruth Mathews.  The company has a wealth of offerings, from Landscape and Living Roof Consulting, to Design and Installation, to Conceptual Design and creating Community Gardens full of native plants. The company seeks to create places with the health, safety and welfare of communities in mind and through the design process, create harmony and balance between the built environment and nature.

We got to sit down with Stella Mathews herself to talk about the journey to business ownership and how she is reshaping roofs all across Savannah.


The Creative Coast: Talk to us a bit about the decision to start Atlantic Star Design–what need or gap were you filling? What was the push for you?  

Stella Mathews: Working for myself is one of the considerations I had when I was deciding what I “wanted to be when I grow up.” When I learned about landscape architecture at the age of 16 I read that most landscape architects work for themselves.  I went to college, got my degree and obtained my professional license.  Then came the Recession, and I found myself unemployed for a year, and when I did finally find a job it was an underemployed manual labor position.  During that time, I also started Atlantic Star Design so that I could be in charge of my own future.  In addition to being self sufficient, my passion is what a lot of professionals consider risky, and I must follow my heart in order to feel happy.


CC: Why did you decide to start your business here in Savannah as opposed to elsewhere? You could go anywhere you want, but what kept you here?

SM: Mild winters, smiling faces, and beautiful places.


CC: Easy enough! So, what about Savannah do you feel is a benefit to folks starting their entrepreneurial venture?

SM: Savannah has a lot to offer someone starting their entrepreneurial venture:


  1. The population is low so there is a lot of room for growth
  2. People have been steadily moving here since the turn of the century
  3. More industries have been setting up shop in the last 10 years
  4. People here are from a wide range of backgrounds so they are always looking for something different and unique
  5. There is a large area of lands that will never be developed and are protected
  6. You can live in downtown Savannah without having a car
  7. Most of the year the weather is nice
  8. Hundreds of thousands of people come here to visit every year


CC: What would you say to folks who are either locals and interested in starting their own business or even folks outside of Savannah who are thinking of becoming locals and starting a business here?

SM: Being my own boss in Savannah is the best decision I’ve ever made



CC: What’s next for Atlantic Star Design?

SM: The next step for Atlantic Star Design is the design and implementation of a demonstration Living Roof – also called a pilot project – that will be utilized to gather data on the benefits of living roofs in our area while also showcasing the impacts of living roofs to our tourism industry, history, and local economy.

To find out more, visit: http://atlanticstardesign.com