Our design process is guided by the following 6 Sustainable Design Principles:
1. SEMIOTICS OF SUSTAINABILITY
As landscapes are cultural artifacts, they manifest our values and intentions. To that end we are interested in how our values and intentions inform the sustainable landscape. What are its signs and symbols? what does it look like and what does it reveal? how is it made and how is it measured?
2. LANDSCAPES ARE DYNAMIC
Ecologically healthy landscapes are inherently dynamic, biologically rich and complex, inter-connected, and constantly changing. We are interested in design solutions that reveal these dynamic processes and relationships, that support indigenous ecosystems, and that reinforce our region’s biodiversity.
3. DESIGN THAT REGENERATES
We are interested in the capacity of landscape architecture to ‘regenerate’ ecosystem health, not simply sustain it. As John T. Lyle wrote in Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development, too much of the planet’s natural capital has been, and continues to be lost, to be content with ‘sustaining’.
4. IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL
The poet Gary Snyder wrote…“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” Our ‘place’ is the Pacific Northwest. It is where we live, work and play. It is a magical place with tremendous beauty and biological diversity, defined by mountains and water, rain forests and grasslands, tide pools and alpine meadows. It is our design muse – informing our design aesthetic; our choice of narratives and metaphors; of materials and plants; an interest in ‘local’ rather than global.
5. WISE USE OF MATERIALS
Considering that most of the resources used in landscape construction are not ‘rapidly renewable’ and that harvesting and or processing building materials can have significant environmental impacts, we seek materials and assembly practices that eliminate ecosystem disruption and waste, minimize carbon footprints, maximize life cycle and are not toxic to people or place.
6. WATER IS GOLD
We believe that, as designers, we should provide our clients with landscape solutions that reduce, and preferably eliminate, the need for potable water. With less than 0.08% of all the Earth’s water available for human consumption, and summer water conservation measures becoming come place in many areas, ‘potable’ water is too precious to use for irrigating landscapes.