About First Pen Studio

First Pen Studio is a boutique landscape architecture firm based on Nova Scotia’s beautiful south shore, that specialises in contemporary landscape design, property visualisation and Japanese Knotweed management consulting.

About Oliver Bence

Owner, Oliver Bence, APALA, CSLA, CMLI, has over 12 years experience as a landscape architect working in Canada, the UK and the US. He specializes in taking small to large scale projects from concept ideas to detailed design, to providing construction review.

Oliver enjoys working with client’s on their own properties and working with multi-disciplinary design teams on multi-million dollar projects. He has a broad project experience that includes homes, hospitals, parks, schools, streets, universities as well as sea level rise and flood mitigation design.

Oliver combines creative flair and technical ability to create exciting and buildable projects. He specializes in contemporary landscape design but above all wants to create sustainable, long lasting places for people to use and enjoy.

Before becoming a landscape Architect, Oliver had a successful career in the UK music industry where he helped various bands achieve number one records and sell-out tours.


We provide landscape design that combines a contemporary aesthetic with a functionality to suit a client’s needs and budget along with the site’s location, topography and climate. We get our kicks by creating designs that bind these ingredients together and seeing it being constructed into a reality.

We regularly meet with clients and design teams and use our technical expertise to take concepts to detailed design and tender, through planning, development agreement and permit approval and to the end of construction.

Our experience is across a broad mix of landscape projects including: commercial, educational, government, healthcare, industrial, recreation and residential sectors and includes new builds, additions and renovations, site improvements, roof terraces, flood mitigation and sea level rise projects.

We provide a Property Visualisation service to home buyers and Realtors to help them see the potential of an unloved outdoor space, backyard, roof terrace or property.

The service comprises of a concept sketch plan of the site, a 3d sketch and a sheet of precedent images with a summary of the design intent to show what could be created on the property.

It can be created with hand drawn graphics and a small brief and some site photos or a more complex process with a site / client meeting followed by the production of SketchUp models and photoshopped illustrations, all depending on the client’s needs.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is the hardy perennial often mistaken for bamboo that is seen all over Nova Scotia often besides bodies of water, roads and wastelands. Unfortunately, it is also now becoming increasingly common in backyards. The plant is hard to remove, can lay dormant for up to twenty years and can regrow from a thumb nail size piece of stem!

Oliver has done extensive research on Japanese Knotweed and has experience of developing Japanese Knotweed management plans to positive outcomes in Nova Scotia and the UK. These plans have managed the Knotweed through containment and removal to restoring, designing and developing the landscape.

In Nova Scotia, there are several approaches to tackle Japanese Knotweed depending on the client’s needs, the site, the location and microclimate. Following an on site consultation, we will produce a site specific plan to manage the Knotweed and then work with an experienced local contractor who will carry out the work on site.

Why Choose First Pen Studio?


We have professional standing in Atlantic Canada and the UK. As a member of APALA (Atlantic Provinces Association of Landscape Architects), CSLA (Canadian Society of Landscape Architects) and a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute, we have professional qualifications and a commitment to promote and ahere to these organisations’ professional codes of conduct.


We are a small firm with a wide network of professional associates covering a multitude of disciplines required to see projects from beginning to end. From first contact we will ensure you have the most outstanding team to envision and see your project through to completion. Building lasting and responsive relationships with our clients and associates is the key to our success. It is our strong suit and our pleasure at First Pen Studio.


We have the bit between our teeth, bursting with drive and ideas that we want to share and implement on projects. Match this to the experience gained from projects here and overseas and we create great contemporary design with a functionality to suit budgets, climate and build-ability.


P.O.Box 1680, Lunenburg, NS, B0J 2C0

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