At HFA, Landscape Architecture is more than throwing shrubs around a building at the end of a project’s development. It is about transforming the land into a tangible atmosphere - a place you can interact with and feel a part of.
“Everyone thinks we’re gardeners. I get asked quite often what my job actually entails,” laughs Sarah Bryant, HFA’s Lead Design Landscape Architect. She says the question comes less often now that both coworkers and clients are realizing landscape design plays a huge role in site planning from day one.
Rick McGraw, Landscape & Civil Team Lead, agrees. “People are seeing that we help keep their vision seamlessly together. Although landscape architecture is sometimes an afterthought due to cost it can really make or break a project. Having a team in-house gives HFA a unique ability to collaborate with the architects and engineers to make the projects they are working on come alive while helping tie the building interior to the site outside.
Low Impact Development (LID) also plays a big role in each of the landscape projects HFA takes on. The team’s primary role is continuity which often shows up through reuse of a site’s natural materials. Rick says, “People may not know we also take stormwater management into consideration as part of our designs and strive to reuse site run-off as much as possible. Sustainable design education is a service HFA brings to the city and municipalities it works with to help increase awareness and its importance.
Both Rick and Sarah chose this career path because they had a passion for being outdoors and the desire to have a career that allows both desk and on-site work. They agree that being able to see a tangible part of the work they are a part of drives them both. “It’s nice getting to see the fruits of our labor,” says Rick.
Rick has worked with engineering firms in Northwest Arkansas on development projects since he graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2006. He says, “I design less now, but working so closely and coordinating with civil engineers on top of the experience I have in landscape architecture keeps me in touch with my roots.”
Sarah primarily designs the projects Rick manages, a role she enjoys since coming to HFA in 2012. She says, “Landscape architecture is a combination of art and logic – it’s not just trees and benches, it’s a whole beautiful thought process on the best way we can let our clients connect with their space.”
Sarah Bryant, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C, CLARB can be contacted at 479-273-7780 ext. 234.
Rick McGraw, PLA, ASLA, CLARB can be contacted at 479-273-7780 ext. 283.