vision

vision

vision

vision

vision

We are landscape architects who are inspired by the healing power of nature. We collaborate with our clients to create environments that are modern, vital, and immersive. We believe nature is more than a final thought. It is the place where we become most ourselves.

We are landscape architects who are inspired by the healing power of nature. We collaborate with our clients to create environments that are modern, vital, and immersive. We believe nature is more than a final thought. It is the place where we become most ourselves.

We are landscape architects who are inspired by the healing power of nature. We collaborate with our clients to create environments that are modern, vital, and immersive. We believe nature is more than a final thought. It is the place where we become most ourselves.

We are landscape architects who are inspired by the healing power of nature. We collaborate with our clients to create environments that are modern, vital, and immersive. We believe nature is more than a final thought. It is the place where we become most ourselves.

“Being connected to living things makes you happier and healthier. Shake hands with a tree and try not to forget it's name.”

experiencing nature makes you happier and healthier

“Being connected to living things makes you happier and healthier. Shake hands with a tree and try not to forget it's name.”

ryan moody
karl-fredrickson-74973-unsplash

a tree for
every window

maximizing health benefits at the intersection of landscape and architecture

1 — welcome sun and
air with a porous perimeter
1 — welcome sun and air with a porous perimeter

Operable windows with shade controls can increase control & comfort, connect us to the exterior environment, and typically provide better air quality in comparison to mechanical cooling and heating. Sunlight affects melatonin production, sets circadian rhythms, and can influence serotonin levels. Reduced light exposure can result in circadian imbalance which increases the risk for depression and disease (Kellert 2008).

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Implementation guidance

Utilize windows wherever possible to bring light and clean air into buildings. East facing windows are especially effective at combating stress and illness (Choi 2012).

ways to measure

Target 100% of windows to be operable and maximize south and east facing windows with proper summer shading.

2 — bring gardens inside

Indoor plants reduce psychological stress, increase job satisfaction, lift mood, and improve cognitive performance (Bringslimark 2007). These effects can combat disease and chronic stress.

MG office
Implementation guidance

Design interior spaces with plants in mind. Group plants together to create a garden where they can share resources and create an ecosystem.

Implementation guidance

Design interior spaces with plants in mind. Group plants together to create a garden where they can share resources and create an ecosystem.

Implementation guidance

Design interior spaces with plants in mind. Group plants together to create a garden where they can share resources and create an ecosystem.

ways to measure

Target 5% of floor area for indoor gardens.

ways to measure

Target 5% of floor area for indoor gardens.

ways to measure

Target 5% of floor area for indoor gardens.

3 — plant (or save)
a tree for every window

Views to green landscapes improve cognitive performance, accelerate healing, and increase recovery from stress (Ulrich 1984, Sullivan 2009). Properly sited buildings and carefully considered windows provide neurological nourishment.

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Implementation guidance

Locate exterior trees on-axis with windows, select plants with canopies that align with building fenestration, and consider roof or balcony planters to provide views to evergreen and deciduous plants. Save existing trees whenever possible.

Implementation guidance

Locate exterior trees on-axis with windows, select plants with canopies that align with building fenestration, and consider roof or balcony planters to provide views to evergreen and deciduous plants. Save existing trees whenever possible.

ways to measure

Protect existing trees on-site, especially those with a circumference of 50” (16” caliper) or more. Provide at least one view to green space with trees from the most consistently occupied areas in buildings, especially break rooms, cafeterias, waiting areas, desks, and hospital recovery areas.

4 — enrich the edges

Protected outdoor areas adjacent to buildings provide cover, transition, refuge, and environmental modulation.

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
Implementation guidance

Incorporate pergolas, colonnades, porticos, porches, solariums, greenhouses, and balconies to enrich and expand the threshold between indoor & outdoor and facilitate a greater engagement with surrounding landscapes.

ways to measure

Design enriched edges at 25% of the building perimeter, especially areas that offer prospect views and connections to nature.  

5 — open views

Humans prefer prospect views that allow us to survey our surroundings for opportunity and hazard. We also have an innate desire to explore and appreciate mystery (Ulrich 1993).

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Implementation guidance

Create long views in buildings and landscapes. Use plants and other landscape elements to frame, focus, or obscure views. Utilize open plans, transparent windows with unobstructed views, low partitions, and open stair landings to provide the benefits of prospect in architectural settings.

ways to measure

Create long views in buildings and landscapes with a focal length greater than 20’.

6 — endear paths with handshake plants

When we know something, we are more likely to protect it (Wilson 1984). By making plants accessible and inviting we provide opportunities to meet and appreciate them.

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
implementation guidance

Allow plants to intersect (but not obstruct) walkways. Encourage people to touch foliage, smell flowers, and learn plants by placing them along to paths of travel and raised above grade where appropriate. Provide identification labels and other engaging information. Where possible, consider narrower walkways.

ways to measure

Label all trees. Identify one plant (or species), existing or proposed, that has meaning to the project and highlight it.

7 — layer gardens

Vertically layered gardens create enclosure, immersion, and attract the greatest number & diversity of wildlife. Tough and low maintenance native plants capitalize on evolutionary symbioses with local birds, bees, and other creatures.

IslBG
implementation guidance

Include regionally native groundcovers, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees in planting design to create visual complexity, maximize ecological habitat value, and promote biophilic connections. Provide “orderly frames” around gardens to reduce concerns about unkempt appearance. Propose vines for exterior vertical surfaces and consider strategies that allow for additional vertical layering such as green walls and architecturally integrated planters.

ways to measure

Design gardens to have a minimum of 2 species for every layer: perennial, shrub, tree. Target 10% of exterior wall surfaces for vegetation growth.

8 — embrace soft fascination

Non-rhythmic movement of light refracting off the surface of water provides soft fascination resulting in mental regeneration. The presence of water has historically signaled availability of drinking water, defensive advantages, and high food productivity which may support the nearly universal positive response and strong preference for visual access to water (Ulrich 1993).

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
implementation guidance

When larger water features are not possible consider smaller fountains, rills, or other features. Position water between the viewer and sunlight. Utilize other design elements such as fire, windchimes, or tall grasses that can create non-rhythmic movement and sound.

ways to measure

Identify an opportunity for non-rhythmic movement in each space. Integrate stormwater management to highlight the flow of water.  

9 — provide outdoor places to sit (or imagine sitting)

A moment of refuge with a favorable prospect provides a moment of contemplation, rest, and recovery. Moveable furniture creates flexible use and gives users more control.

Landscape Architecture Photographs – Washington DC, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA
implementation guidance

Provide refuge by locating seating with protected backs under tree canopies, architectural overhangs, or lowered ceilings. Make exterior seating visible from interior spaces and provide long views from bench locations.

ways to measure

Provide at least one opportunity for outdoor seating in every garden. Design seating to accommodate 5% of building occupants at any one time.

10 — encourage twenty minutes with nature

Twenty to thirty minutes in nature is shown to provide maximum stress reduction in relation to time expended (Hunter 2019). Benefits extend to increased immune system resilience, reduced pain levels, increased serotonin levels, and improved cognitive performance.

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implementation guidance

Encourage time in natural settings by providing comfortable benches, engaging pathways, moments of soft fascination, views to green, and areas for conversation.  Consider the use of mobile phone free areas to inhibit distraction.

ways to measure

Define areas where people are likely to spend 20 minutes of time in a state of involuntary attention such as break areas, outdoor rooms, waiting areas, etc. Provide maximum visual and physical access to nature in these zones.

11 —  mark the passage of time

By revealing and highlighting the seasonal change of plants and life cycles of materials we reconnect to our broader climate and context.

07 winter amped
implementation guidance

Select plants with different bloom times, varying textures, and winter interest to choreograph garden atmospheres that are continually changing. Select interior and exterior materials that patina to convey natural cycles of growth and decay.

ways to measure

Identify one building material that is intended to change over time. Select indoor and outdoor plants that bloom at different times of year and maintain dried seed heads, foliage, and grasses through winter.

12 — make it beautiful

Our efforts must be beautiful. They must attract our attention, promote wonder, weave the ground and sky, and change over time.

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implementation guidance

The inclusion of nested symmetry, fractal patterns, complementary colors, the golden ratio, materials that patina over time, and biomorphic forms are design strategies that are consistently perceived as beautiful across human cultures.

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