A split image showing a rain garden, bike trail, walkway, and plaza


World Landscape Architecture Month


It is spring in the northern hemisphere! With this season comes rain, flowers, pollen, and green vegetation. It is a time to celebrate! April 26 is Arbor Day, a day to plant trees, and all month long we celebrate World Landscape Architecture Month!

In such, we, the landscape architects of Parametrix, stand in solidarity with those throughout the world who have been influenced by, educated in, or practice landscape architecture.

So, what is landscape architecture?

Since it is not the best-known profession, we often must explain further. Landscape architects are best known for designing beautiful gardens and grand parks. Frederick Law Olmsted is widely considered the most famous landscape architect for his work on New York City’s Central Park.

But landscape architects work in a much wider range of practices from regional scale planning to program management. At Parametrix, our landscape architects range from those who work at the planning level to those who focus on the design level – producing landscape, irrigation and restoration plans for a wide variety of projects.

Shelley Miller, PLA, AICP, PMP, a Senior Planner with Parametrix based in Seattle, WA, describes landscape architecture as:

Shelley Miller headshot

“a balanced and well-rounded skillset. From design through construction, the practice allows one to look at a project holistically and enhances the ability to see the long-range outcomes. Using those skills in the life cycle of projects at Parametrix contributes to building healthier, more vibrant, and more harmonious communities.”


“What do landscape architects (even) do?”

Well, during college, many of us were told that landscape architecture can be “anything from the window planter to the watershed.” Given that broad range, we thought that it would be prudent to answer the question above by hearing from Parametrix’s landscape architects – both those who practice as professional landscape architects (PLA) and those who have pursued less conventional routes of practice for a landscape architect.

Jason Ceralde, PLA, is a Planner based in Bremerton, WA.

Jason Ceralde headshot

“After graduating from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, I worked at an ornamental foundry drawing, modeling, and designing benches, tree grates, and other site furnishings. When I made the move to Parametrix, I mostly drafted and did some design work. With the help of several champions, I pursued licensure and the practice of Landscape Architecture full-time.

I love working on parks and trails. My career path has also allowed me to do quite a bit of work in grading and design of sites, transit, transportation, streams, and environmental restoration work. I also have a professional designation in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).”

People riding bikes on a paved trail

East Lake Sammamish Trail in King County, WA

Jens Swenson, PLA, a Senior Planner based in Seattle, WA, reflects on the work he has done over his 30+ year career:

Jens Swensonheadshot

“As landscape architects, we have designed landscapes for many different multi-disciplinary project types. The goal has always been to make projects look their best for the public and to enhance the ecosystems where they are. I’ve worked on a wide range of projects, including too many cemeteries to list, up-scale residential gardens, numerous mitigation projects, bike trails, and stormwater parks. 

We really focus on people’s experience in public spaces, enhancing what people see and work to improve their safety hopefully helping to encourage people to get out (and out of their cars) to enjoy the outdoors.”

A walkway overlooking vegetation and a spiral rain garden with the Puget Sound in the background

Manchester Stormwater Park in Manchester, WA

Dylan Bailey, PLA, a Planner based in Puyallup, WA has been able to work on a variety of projects during his 13 years in the industry.

Dylan Bailey headshot

“My career path has been a bit of an interesting one seeing as I graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree at the height of the great recession. This meant that I got my hands in a bit of everything for the first couple of years – from traditional planning-based landscape architecture, to high-end residential, parks and recreation projects, even a stint doing “action sports design” – BMX tracks, Olympic training facilities, mountain bike trails, and skate parks.”

A gravel walkway in front of picket-fence lined houses to the right. On the left are planters with trees, ferns, and other vegetation.

Seabrook, located on the Washington Coast, is a beach town built according to the principles of New Urbanism.

At Parametrix, he continues to work on a variety of projects in Washington, Oregon, and California, including mixed-use planned communities, tribal projects, streetscapes and roundabouts, fish passage restoration, and various forms of visualization.

What he enjoys most about his role? The ability to bring a different perspective to project teams. He provides a balance of human-focused design while remaining environmentally cautious.

Palmer Sandeno, a Planner based in Puyallup, WA, graduated from Washington State University in May 2023.

Palmer Sandeno wears a Washington State University graduation outfit

“My career has just begun, but I have already had many opportunities to exercise different elements of landscape architecture, including restoration and planting plans, creating graphics, conceptual design, renderings, 3D modeling, and everything in between.

Landscape architecture inspires me to think of design projects holistically, with a deep understanding of both ecology and the human experience. It means being able to think about how to work with the environment and natural systems, while still being able to exercise creative energy, but having to do so in a way that is constructable. The field is both so diverse and so unique and that is why it has such a call to me.”

A rendering showing two covered areas connected by a walkway with people mingling

A rendering of Vista Field, which will transform two unused former hangar buildings into community facilities, in Kennewick, WA

Justin Overdevest, a Senior Planner with Parametrix’s Climate Change and Resiliency group in Eugene, OR, explains that while his focus is on climate and sustainability, he has woven landscape architecture into his practice.

Justin Overdevest wears a blue collared shirt standing in front of greenery

“My particular interest in ecology mixed with landscape-level solutions is part of designing solutions that serve both people and the environment. This foundation has been integral to my work at the intersection of human and natural systems, always striving to harmonize social, economic and, ecological objectives. I’m particularly passionate about tackling complex challenges facing our food system and natural resources while serving human needs.” 

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