Author: Andrew Spiering

Contact us if you are interested in joining our team as a writer on the subject of landscape architecture.

Wisteria Tunnel at the Kawachi Fuji Gardens

Wisteria Tunnel is located at the Kawachi Fuji Gardensin Kitakyushu, Japan. Flowering wisteria blooms hang to create rows bursting with color overhead and dappled shadows below.  You will have to imagine the fragrance.

Pedestrians find comfort from the sun in the dappled shade inside the tunnel and stop to appreciate the interesting shadow patterns on the pathway floor.

This is another section of the garden that looks good above and below.  The posts and grid pattern form the structure hold up the massive web of wisteria and create an expansive room.

I hope you enjoyed the stroll!  Please leave comments below and feel free to pin, tweet, and share on facebook.  Thanks!


Via Jeannie Jeannie and udivitelno

Take a Stroll in the ‘Tunnel of Love’

Located near the town of Kleven, in the dense forests of eastern Ukraine, this natural tunnel has been formed over many years by a passing train.  The 3 kilometer (1.86 mile) line is actually a private railway that delivers wood to a local fibreboard factory three times a day.

Locals call it the “Tunnel of Love” and find the luscious green pathway perfect for a romantic stroll, photography, and to make a wish together – local tradition says that if a couple is sincere in their love, then there wish will come true.

The real charm occurs in Spring when the deciduous trees lining the railway leaf out to form a brilliant green canopy.  The leafy enclosed arch over the track bursts into a bright green show of arboreous glory.

Aside from all the romantic goop, this is a magnificent example of a transitional space shaped by an unexpected juxtaposition of nature and industry.  Here they are in concert; working together to create a memorable space full of wonder.

Found this gem Via Inhabitat

See also via Pijama Surf, Meridanos, and DailyMail

Photos © Oleg Gordienko / Amos Chapple / Rex Features


LAND ART: Tree, Line by Zander Olsen

No, that is not tree paint.  It is a white cloth material used by artist Zander Olsen as a “wrapping” to create positive and negative space between trees and the horizon.  The heavy contrast results in an engaging relationship between the foreground of trees and the topography in which they stand.

Project Description: 

“This is an ongoing series of constructed photographs rooted in the forest. These works, carried out in Surrey, Hampshire and Wales,involve site specific interventions in the landscape, ‘wrapping’ trees with white material to construct a visual relationship between tree, not-tree and the line of horizon according to the camera’s viewpoint.”

Artist: Zander Olsen


WINNERS Announced: Land8 SketchUp Sweepstakes

We are happy to announce the winners of the Land8 SketchUp Sweepstakes!  Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Kylie Nave!  Kylie and a friend will each enjoy a 1.5 hour personal SketchUp training sessions with expert Daniel Tal.  All prizes are courtesy of our sponsor, One2One by FormFonts.

Grand Prize Winner: Kylie Nave

2nd Prize Winner: James Benedetti

Thank to everyone that participated.  Look for more sweepstakes and contests coming soon…

Thanks again!

About One2One by FormFonts

FormFonts is the leader in 3D Models offering thousands of high quality architectural, entourage models and textures on a subscription basis.  One2One is a new service that offers personal training for Google SketchUp™ users. Whether you want to learn the basics or advanced terrain modeling, Daniel will create a lesson plan geared towards your learning objectives.

About the Instructor

Daniel Tal, ASLA, is a landscape architect, Google SketchUp™ Specialist and author of Google SketchUp for Site Design: A Guide to Modeling Site Plans, Terrain and Architecture.

Daniel has been instructing professionals and hobbyists in SketchUp™ for 8 years. He has taught and developed hundreds of course hours of material covering a wide range of topics related to SketchUp™ SketchUp related software and topics.

SketchUp was acquired by Trimble.  Read more about it on FormFonts Blog:  SketchUp 3.0

Neal’s Yard: Colorful London Icon

The goal of a Landscape Architect is to create memorable spaces.  Neal’s Yard  is a playful space that is easy to remember.  Named after its 17th century developer, Thomas Neale, Neal’s Yard is an iconic London alley located in Covent Garden between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street.  The alley opens up to a a triangular-shaped courtyard surrounded by colorful, health food cafes and organic retailers such as Neal’s Yard Salad Bar, Neal’s Yard Dairy and Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Photo via

The space is also activated by local events like the 10,000 Balloon release.  (Hopefully those were bio-degradable.)

National Mall Design Competition Union Square

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond are Winners of the National Mall Design Competition for Union Square in Washington, DC

Seattle-based landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) and New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond (DBB) have been selected as winners of the National Mall Design Competition for Union Square. The competition, organized by the Trust for the National Mall, was a three-stage process through which a jury of eight esteemed professionals selected a design team for each of the three re-design sites of the National Mall. The winners were judged on the flexibility, sustainability, and creativity of their design and how well it reflects the established vision and design influences of this historic setting.


The project team, led by Kathryn Gustafson and Rodrigo Abela of GGN, and Carl Krebs and Peter Cook of Davis Brody Bond, sees the site as a setting for some of the nation’s most powerful shared memories. They created a design that would recognize Union Square both as a place of iconic reverence, as well as an active square of public life. The new design engages visitors with an impressive monumental scale, but it also provides comfortable places for a range of activities and voices.

“The National Mall is an extraordinary monumental landscape. Remarkable for its sheer scale, its powerful presence serves the country as both a public park and place of gathering and discourse. The goal of our design is to create a sustainable, durable and flexible plaza that is yet inviting and also active when it is not occupied for national events”

– Kathryn Gustafson

The National Mall, Union Square: View from The Grant Memorial Courtesy of GGN, © Methanoia

The National Mall, Union Square: View from The Grant Memorial Courtesy of GGN, © Methanoia

Project description via GGN:

This winning design for Union Square, situated at the base of the Capitol in Washington DC, engages visitors with an impressive monumental scale, while also providing comfortable places for a range of experiences and voices. The major focus is a grand central space defined by a reflecting pool and the historic Grant Memorial. Consisting of a 2” sheet of water over a paved surface, the pool can be quickly drained to create a range of differently sized assembly spaces. Paved paths running diagonally at the surface of the pool encourage pedestrians to traverse this large water feature and allow people to inhabit the water’s surface, enlivening and humanizing this formal space.

The central space is flanked by a series of outdoor rooms of distinct character.  Subtle changes in grade are used to form terraces and low retaining walls that provide seating surfaces and views into these rooms. Planting further defines the spaces within, utilizing the existing mature trees on the site.  Materials have been selected to reinforce the different identities of the constituent spaces, as well as to create durable surfaces that can be efficiently maintained through the life cycle of the project.

Download the team’s official competitions submission here.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Davis Brody Bond

Banksy ‘Animated’ Street Art

Love street art?  Check out these classic pieces by Banksy put to motion using animated gif’s by artist ABVH.  Banksy has also been the focus of Nick Stern who photographed real people re-enacting scenes from the street artist’s famous graffiti.  


Via [Visual News]

Landscape Architecture Among the Safest Jobs in the US

Landscape Architecture is among the safest jobs in the US…right after sheep herding, commercial banking, and cereal manufacturing.  “…professions with relatively few fatal occupational injuries include commercial banking, landscape architecture, and cereal manufacturing.”  This makes me so proud.  Way to go team!  

Read the full article:

Member Spotlight: Gavin McWilliam

In the second interview of our Member Spotlight series we are sitting down with Gavin McWilliam.  Sir Gavin hails from the UK where he runs his award-winning garden design garden design practice with Andrew Wilson, Wilson McWilliam Studio.  Their keen interest in Fine Art shows through their hand drawings while their passion for plants is displayed in the bold plantings that bring both their residential and urban gardens to life.

It is with great pleasure to put Gavin in the spotlight…

Hyde Park Hayes - Wilson McWilliam Studio

How did you discover Landscape Architecture?

Following the death of my father and a serious operation I chose to reevaluate my life and sought a new direction that was more tangible and grounded.  I wanted something that linked me more directly with the natural world and society and where I could utilise my creativity.  Landscape Architecture offered all of these things.

What is your background? (Where did you study?)

I studied a degree in Fine Art at what used to be known as the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University).  Then I went on to work as a graphic designer which led to a position as an art director for a number of years.  After I decided to become a Landscape Architect, I pursued a masters degree in Landscape Architecture at Greenwich University.

Holland Park Garden - Wilson McWilliam Studio

Who is one person that has influenced you?

Tony Edwards FLI has had a huge influence on my career. He invested a considerable amount of time and energy into mentoringme on my pathway to chartership when I didn’t even work for his company.  Such is his belief in Landscape Architecture and the importance of education. He continues to be a source of great support and wisdom and is an ambassador for the industry.

Hyde Park Hayes - Wilson McWilliam Studio

Where do you find your inspiration?

Literally, everywhere.  Life is inspiring – from nature to the man made.   I am quite fascinated with light, colour, form, sound, movement and atmosphere.  I draw references from everything.

If you could work with anyone person (past or present), who would it be?

I am very fortunate that I already work with Andrew Wilsonwhose lateral creativity, outstanding design ability and vast planting knowledge make working with him a delight. Not to mention we share a passion for good coffee, motorbikes and generally have a laugh when we work.

What has been your greatest challenge to date?

Overcoming bureaucracy and mediocrity in the UK planning system and convincing clients, architects and the design press the value of good landscape design.  Sadly this is an ongoing challenge but one I will not give up on.

Savill Rose Garden - Wilson McWilliam

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

Delivering the Savill rose garden, (the construction was deceptively complex) and having HM The Queenopen it in 2010.

What trends are you seeing in LA, good or bad?

Sadly, with the exception of a few practices, we appear to be seeing a demise in planting knowledge and it’s application.  There also does not appear to be enough importance given to good spatial design.

Chorleywood Garden - Wilson McWilliam Studio

What’s your favorite material to use?

I wouldn’t look to identify one particular material as they are all components of the whole and have equal importance. However if pushed I would list water (I’ve checked and apparently it can be considered a material) and planting. Their ability to animate a space and captivate a viewer in a moment of time make them fascinating to work with.

Chorleywood Garden - Wilson McWilliam

What’s your favorite color?

Similar to the answer above, colour is dependant on its context.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

This is subject to change as there are always new places to try, but for now it’s Barrafina in Soho.

Who is your favorite contemporary designer/artist?

Thomas Heatherwick, Olafur Eliasson, Kathryn Gustafson, John Pawson, Herzog & de Meuron to name but a few…

My favorite ____ is ______.

My favorite day, and happiest moment, is the day I married my wife in a vineyard in Waiheke, NZ.

What advice do you have for students and those entering the profession?

Stay creative, never lose your sense of inquiry or belief that things could be done differently or better. And drawdraw draw, it gives you the freedom to communicate ideas no matter where you are and what situation you are in.

Wilson McWilliam Perspective 3

ASLA Business Quarterly Survey: Billable Hours Down, Hiring Up

Washington, D.C., January 26, 2011 – The fourth quarter of 2010 represented a mixed bag for landscape architecture firms, as firm leaders reported fewer billable hours but increased hiring opportunities, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey. The findings echo the results from the 4Q 2009 survey, though billable hours, inquiries and hiring all strengthened from this time last year.

Six in 10 respondents reported stable or higher amount of billable hours (59.6 percent) and inquiries for new work (59.4 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2010 – a decline of six and ten points, respectively from the third quarter survey. At this time last year, 45.5 percent reported stable or rising billable hours, and 53.7 percent reported stable or rising inquiries.  

Also like last year, the fourth quarter 2010 saw a modest increase in job opportunities for landscape architects. One in five (20.7 percent) respondents plan to hire in the upcoming quarter, up from 14.6 percent last quarter and 16.4 percent a year ago.   

“Despite signs of recovery, continued layoffs, lowered fees, and strong competition for few projects made this past year one of the toughest on record for the industry,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “We’re confident that the worse of the recession is behind us, but improvement will be frustratingly slow.”

The survey also asked about firm work with federally funded projects. Overall, 40 percent of firm leaders indicated that they worked on projects that were partially or fully funded by the government within the past two years. One in ten (9.8 percent) respondents reported working on Green Project Reserve green infrastructure projects under the Stimulus Bill.


Read the full survey results here.




Mainstream Magazine features Landscape Architect

In the October 2010 special issue of Fast Company, Masters of Design 2010, Walter Hood was featured in an article titled, This Land is Your Land, for his efforts to “transform run-of-the-mill public spaces – city parks, highway underpasses – into pillars of the communities they serve.”

It is an excellent article and terrific for our industry to gain exposure in a mainstream magazine. Read the article…

See the full list of Masters of Design 2010, here.

(Photo Via Fast Company)

Resources: Why use LEDs?

Did you know that LEDs last 50 times longer than incandescent lighting and 10 times longer than fluorescent. Along with their long life, here is a list of benefits to using LED’s in the built environment that I found on the illumivision website.


  • Extremely long life
  • highly efficient
  • Compact and low-profile design
  • Breakage resistant
  • Cold temperature operation
  • Instant on
  • Rapid cycling capability
  • Controllability
  • No IR or UV emissions
  • Directional light emission

This is an underpass that Walter Hood designed for Splash Pad Park in Oakland. This application can be achieved easily with LEDs. You can see a showcase of projects both indoor and out here.

Additional Resources:

Using Light-Emitting DiodesUS Department of Energy

LED Lighting TechnologyLandscapeForms

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