This year, we are celebrating World Landscape Architecture Month with a few perspectives from our Landscape Architects and Designers.


Melanie Miller – Designer


In what ways do you feel Landscape Architecture can bring positive change to communities?


Because of the broad nature of Landscape Architecture, we, as design professionals, are uniquely positioned to impact communities and quality of life. Our influence comes in many shapes and sizes. One of the biggest impacts we offer to communities is to help them provide better public access. Through designing trail systems and walkable streetscapes, landscape architects enable and empower people to access resources (like banks, food stores, retail, parks, etc.), which encourages a more equitable community.

Another significant impact we have on communities comes from access to the environment. Nature is known to reduce symptoms of stress and promote mental restoration. In general, communities are happier when they have access to nature, which makes us incredibly important in urban contexts where “landscape” and “nature” are not necessarily the first things that come to mind. These benefits are more prevalent in larger greenspaces like parks, gardens, and trails, but even minor changes like implementing street trees and planted medians can have an impact on the mental well-being of community members.

Landscape architects also benefit communities by helping them manage resources. Through thoughtfully integrated design approaches, Landscape Architects provide solutions to better manage stormwater, preventing flooding and property damage. Urban trees and plantings help reduce the heat island effect, reducing energy costs in the community. Nature inherently benefits humans, and as landscape architects, it is our job to make these benefits accessible.

What aspects of Landscape Architecture do you find the most interesting?


The aspects of Landscape Architecture that I find most interesting are the intersections between sustainable design and social benefit. Designing sustainably is good for the environment, but it is also good for people. Designing sustainably in the landscape results in less maintenance, higher energy savings, water savings, increased air quality, and increased mental resilience.

Promoting sustainable practices can also have a social impact. For example, creating a more walkable city through streetscapes and trails is sustainable for the planet and for people. On the environmental side, this reduces carbon output by reducing the amount that people need to drive and sequestering carbon through plantings. On the social side, cities with walkable streetscapes feel more like a community because people are more likely to see and interact with each other instead of the isolation of car travel. The walkable streets provide light exercise for users and access to nature. This connectivity provides access to resources that otherwise may be inaccessible to lower-income groups. The sustainable practice of walking or biking instead of driving can create an overall healthier and more connected community.

What areas do you want to learn more about?


We are living in an exciting time for landscape architecture as more corporations and individuals see how important it is to be sustainable. I am excited to see and learn about the innovative technologies and design techniques that are being developed in response to this. One of the major design techniques that has recently gained traction is biophilic design. Biophilic design is to design with inspiration from nature. This approach applies to design aesthetics and to the way in which we design systems (like water management systems). I’m excited to dig more into how biophilic design can inform the design of systems and what that actually looks like in practice.

Christi Jackson – Senior Landscape Architect


In what ways do you feel Landscape Architecture can bring positive change to communities?


Landscape Architects play a key role in the future of communities. We bring a thoughtful approach to development that is often lacking when we are not at the table. We design spaces where people work, live, and play and those spaces are crucial to our health, safety, and livelihood. Our current challenge as designers is to be a key player when it comes to climate-positive design. We help communities combat and plan for climate change and we are already taking huge steps at Browning Day to develop our own action plan for this. When we design thoughtfully, Landscape Architect’s bring positive change on a daily basis.

What aspects of Landscape Architecture do you find the most interesting?


The most interesting part of Landscape Architecture for me is the wide diversity and complexity of the profession. It’s hard to give a simple answer regarding what we do to someone who doesn’t know. I’ll often find myself mentioning a project/space we helped design to which I will get the reply “Wow, you do that too?” We switch between broad-scale master plans of entire communities to zooming in on intricate details of a seat wall or a rain garden, or even designing a themed 18-hole Putt-Putt course (which was a fun challenge) etc. It’s hard to define which aspect is the most interesting when you work on so many different interesting levels.

What areas do you want to learn more about?


There are many areas of Landscape Architecture that I have yet to explore in my career. I’m just excited for the future of my profession and our important role in this changing world. Our professional association ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) has issued Climate Action Plan guidelines that I would love to dive into more and learn how to help communities become healthier and stronger for the future.

Brett Schlachter – Project Manager


How has the Browning Day Landscape Architecture team supported sustainability efforts?


Browning Day’s landscape architecture team supports the firm’s efforts by being industry leaders and advocates for sustainable design.  Our team strives to be at the forefront of best practices with several high performing projects including the first SITES certified project in Indiana and the largest corporate LEED Platinum building in Indiana.  Always wanting to push ourselves, our current efforts include understanding how the site design impacts the overall project’s carbon footprint and how can we thoughtfully make better design decisions that positively impact our environment.

Why is urban design an essential facet of our team, and what types of services do we provide our clients?


Urban design utilizes our combined strengths and knowledge in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning to set the framework and program for large-scale urban development.  We help articulate the client’s vision by showing the potential a site has for redevelopment while establishing key criteria or guidelines for success that still allow flexibility as market conditions change over the multi-year process.  This can take multiple forms, ranging from a 3d model to written design guidelines.