Born and raised in North Carolina, Paul began his horticultural journey at an early age. From the age of 15 he was competing in plant identification competitions, building his own greenhouse, designing period gardens, and gardening for a family whose matriarch continues to be a mentor to him.
Saylors continued to feed his horticultural appetite by studying the subject through high school and later at North Carolina State University with a concentration in Landscape Design.
While gardening for his mentor he would read Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden, the book that inspired his move to Charleston, South Carolina in 2004.
Paul graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning invariably tailoring his papers and projects to landscape preservation; his senior thesis being The Early Landscape Characterization of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Upon completing two internships with the City of Charleston's Design, Development, and Preservation Department in 2010 he began his career in preservation at the Preservation Society of Charleston. During his tenure at the oldest membership-based preservation organization in America, he was able to fully exercise his abilities in the city where the ‘preservation movement’ began. Paul taught classes in historic preservation, Charleston architecture and Charleston neighborhoods, and managed a continuing education program in Historic Preservation.
Saylors has served on the board of the Charleston Chapter of the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture and continues as an Advisory Council member of the Charleston World Heritage Coalition.
Saylors has attended the Historic Landscape Institute at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia and is an active member of the Southern Garden History Society. In the summer of 2015 he attended Biennial Conferences on Restoring Southern Gardens and Landscapes in Winston Salem.
Paul believes that one must take into account the context in which a property is surrounded - whether it is a landed farm, a residential neighborhood, or a compact urban plot - research must be undertaken to relate the building to the land it sits upon. An avid historic researcher, Paul is always happy to produce a detailed history of the property. This insight provides a more personal connection and can influence the design.
A jovial memoir and New York Times best seller – Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden brought Paul full circle, as he is the gardener for Marty Whaley Adams Cornwell, Mrs. Whaley’s third daughter.
In the fall of 2015, WILDSAM Charleston was published. Paul was asked to write the ‘Secret Gardens’ section of the guide. WILDSAM is the new and wildly popular American ‘field guide’ for in the know travelers mixing historical anecdotes, local interviews, memoirs and hand-drawn maps.
Mrs. Whaley began the integration of the historic c.1754 house that was once owned by a signer of the Declaration of Independence with the formal and uniquely scaled Loutrel Briggs design from 1942. Paul’s work varies from maintaining the famous and historic Whaley garden to developing a master plan with Marty Whaley Adams Cornwell, innovating her mother’s vision with her own while applying twists that bring together new ideas.
Lois Lane of Lois Lane Properties, affords Paul the opportunity to connect a historic downtown office courtyard that was once owned by Susan Pringle Frost, founder of the Preservation Society of Charleston, with it’s business district neighborhood of Broad Street while uptown in Cannonborough he lightly connects a c.1820s Charleston Single house with its vibrant, yet transitional neighborhood.
Saylors also works with a handful of other private clients.