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Best Landscape Architects & Designers

A landscape architect can create beautiful and functional spaces for a variety of purposes. These landscapes can be used for recreational and educational purposes, and can enhance the surrounding architecture of a building.

Unlike architects, who tend to focus on aesthetics alone, landscape architects must consider both form and function. This is why it’s important to choose the right landscape architects.

James Corner

With projects like the High Line, Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island and Domino Park in Brooklyn, James Corner has made a name for himself as a leader of large-scale public parks. His firm is a 50-strong team with a variety of multidisciplinary backgrounds in landscape architecture, design, planning and communication art. They specialize in urban situations and public spaces and aim to create ecologically smart and culturally significant built works of lasting distinction.

Corner’s work is bold, incorporating the landscape as a critical element of urban infrastructure, and demonstrating a concern for public health, sustainability and the revitalization of the landscape architectural profession as a whole. His research and writing is centered on developing innovative approaches to landscape architectural practice and urbanism. Corner’s office is busy, with more than 50 projects ongoing.

While architects are best suited to handle larger-scale projects that include new building construction, landscape architects can help with land development and planning for residential, commercial and industrial sites. They also prepare graphic representations of plans and designs. They often collaborate with engineering personnel and architects to incorporate existing land features into their projects.

While boldface starchitects like Frank Gehry, Norman Foster and Bjarke Ingels are making a splash in the NYC skyline, landscape architects are quietly becoming a major part of the city’s identity. Their work is essential to its future. They are reshaping the streets, waterfronts and parks of our urban environment. In a time of climate change, their skills are needed now more than ever before. They are bringing beauty, engagement and vitality to urban spaces, transforming them from neglected public assets into thriving, green neighborhoods. They are helping the city become a more sustainable, healthier and happier place to live.

Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll (1843–1923) was a leading figure in the world of horticulture during the last decades of the 19th century and into the first years of the 20th. Her creative and solitary temperament broke Victorian social convention, as did her aversion to marriage and motherhood. She pursued a variety of artistic interests, from painting to embroidery, and enjoyed the friendships of such artists as Ruskin, GF Watts and William Morris.

In her late 20s she began writing for a gardening magazine and, in 1875, became a collaborator with the editor William Robinson on his influential journal The Garden. It was here that Jekyll developed her principles of designing gardens with flowering plants and a naturalistic approach to wildness. She travelled widely, visiting Algeria, Italy and the Mediterranean, and her writing opened up the concept of what a garden could be to many people.

Jekyll had a gift for visual composition and she channeled her creative energy into the art of garden design. She had already begun to show her work and to gain commissions. In her lifetime she designed more than 100 gardens, and was closely associated with the architect Edwin Lutyens. She and he worked on at least 70 projects together, the most famous being Hestercombe in Somerset.

She also wrote a number of books, including Roses for English Gardens (Longmans, Green and Co., 1902) and Old West Surrey (Longmans, Green and Co., 1904). She was also a prolific artist, painting and illustrating a wide range of subjects. The book that has most been studied is the abridged version of her memoirs, A Memoir of my own Life (Longmans, Green and Co., 1910).

Charles Jencks

Charles Jencks was a cultural theorist, architectural historian and landscape designer, whose work defined the contours of Postmodernism. Jencks published a series of seminal books, lectured and designed buildings and gardens worldwide. In 2003, he established the RIBA Charles Jencks Award “to recognise an individual or practice that has made a significant contribution simultaneously to the theory and practice of architecture.” The award has been given to many leading architects including Alejandro Aravena, Herzog & de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas.

Jencks’ most influential design came relatively late in life with a shift towards landscape. Using his wife Maggie’s knowledge of Chinese gardens, the pair created a series of ambitious landscapes including Scotland’s 30-acre Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Jencks viewed the garden as a microcosm of the universe, incorporating scientific ideas such as fractals and self-organising systems into the site.

The garden was inspired by the ideas of his mentor, architect Buckminster Fuller, and also Jencks’ interest in the natural world. He created a number of psychedelic landforms in the shape of curved, tiered mounds linked by linear paths that articulate undulating waves. He also incorporated elements from modern science, such as the butterfly effect and chaos theory.

Several of Jencks’ most exciting landscape designs were built in Scotland including the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Jupiter Artland and The Crawick Multiverse. He also designed DNA sculptures for Kew Gardens and Cambridge and created a complex of landscaped ‘metaphors’ at a house called The Jumping Universe in California, USA. Jencks was also working on his final project, a massive human form that is 112 feet tall and set to be the world’s largest land goddess sculpture when it opens in 2013. He died in October this year.

Laurie Olin

Laurie Olin is a landscape architect, educator and author whose work spans a wide range of scales from private gardens to public parks and corporate/museum campus plans. His firm, OLIN, has designed numerous iconic projects including the Washington Monument grounds in Washington DC, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Philadelphia and Bryant Park in New York City, as well as the award-winning Barnes Foundation and Apple Park in Philadelphia and Simon and Helen Director Park in Portland, Oregon.

A traveler at heart, Olin has recorded his observations of French cities and countryside, gardens, cafes, streets, ancient ruins and parks in his sketchbooks for more than fifty years. His drawings and watercolors are interleaved throughout the book, creating a dialogue between text and image that reveals his insights and point of view as a designer.

From the low stone ledges circling Renaissance fountains to Classical amphitheaters and modern benches in metal or wood, Olin explains how seating solutions have changed over time, revealing how customary practices evolved and what it is about some designs that remain relevant today. He also explores his own practice, describing how his design for movable chairs in Columbus Circle park in New York City grew out of the sociologist William H. Whyte’s advocacy for placing movable chairs in public parks.

Distinguished teacher, author and one of the most celebrated landscape architects in America, Olin’s career has spanned more than five decades of design innovation and public service. In addition to his many design awards, he has published two books on the history of gardens and several essays on landscape architecture theory. He has curated exhibitions in New York, London, Paris and Venice and was a 2021 John R. Bracken Fellow at the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kishor Pradhan

Have you ever wondered how the beautiful skyscrapers, spacious residential areas and apartments, exotic resorts or farmhouses, and lush green landscapes around them come to be? This is because of the work of people who are specialized in landscape architecture.

The practice of landscape architecture focuses on the natural components in outdoor spaces including public and private parks, gardens (rooftop and home garden), playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, public places, official or commercial centers, etc. This complex field requires an in-depth knowledge of design, engineering, horticulture, botany, psychology, and sociology.

Founded in 1972 by Kishore Pradhan, Kishor’s firm specializes in urban green projects and site planning. It aims to design landscapes that blend seamlessly with their surrounding natural environment. Their projects like the City Park in Mumbai and Eat Street in Hyderabad demonstrate that ecological research is a core part of their work.

A lawyer by education, Louis Benech shifted his career to the landscaping industry in 1977 out of sheer passion for plants. His firm, the renowned Benech Garden, is famous for its unique gardens that evoke a sense of mystery and adventure through their use of plants. He has also designed many public spaces such as squares and parks.

Sunay Erdem is a well-known Turkish landscape architect whose designs are characterized by their contemporary, yet traditional style. He has over 40 projects under his belt and is a member of the International Federation of Landscape Architects. His free-hand sketches are the only medium he uses to create his designs. His landscapes have received several awards and recognition. His works have been featured in many magazines and newspapers. He has also been involved in a number of films and theatre plays.