Sustainable Site Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture
our interests enrich our designs
The more we read about Frederick Law Olmsted and how his early life and careers affected his landscape designs, we realized that our own life experiences and interests have a profound effect on the work we do at DALA. For this Thirtieth Anniversary blog, we thought we should share our outside interests and how they have enriched our designs over the years.
Keith grew up enjoying time spent in the Adirondack mountains where he discovered the beautiful landscape of upstate New York and later, after marrying, Canada lake country. Similar to the impact of 19th Century Connecticut landscape on Olmsted, these landscapes have influenced Keith’s aesthetic. At a young age, he developed a passion for fishing, ice fishing, and skiing (as Keith loves the winter landscape as well). These interests have carried over into his professional career. For example, on one of our environmental remediation projects, the program included a fishing platform. Keith, as an avid fisherman, brought not only the technical knowledge to that project but, through his personal experience, the understanding of where the platform would be better located and what elements are essential. His interest in the environment has also developed into passions that include gardening and growing hops for his home brew endeavors. His understanding of the impact of soil, sun, and water on his crops has enhanced his knowledge of organic landscapes.
Jane, on the other hand, grew up in New York City and Long Island. Her earliest memories include visiting Jones Beach, Rockefeller Center, Shea Stadium and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She loves the urban vibe of these locations but also cherishes her time spent hiking at the local trails, kayaking in the Great Swamp and the Long Island Sound, plein air painting the Connecticut landscape, bicycling the local roads and trails, and gardening. Jane has also worked and taught at the New York Botanical Garden. These experiences have influenced her designs from urban infill projects in Norwalk to bicycle trails in West Haven.
Olmsted’s early travels through Europe and pre-civil War south influenced his belief in the landscape as a means for social justice and health. Similarly, both Keith and Jane have spent time traveling and experiencing different views around the world. Keith grew up as a Navy brat and spent his very early years in Puerto Rico. He spent his off-campus semester in Barcelona, Spain, and has also traveled to France, the Netherlands, and Australia. Jane has traveled more in recent years; transformed by Italy, the Pura Vida of Costa Rica and the big sky of Utah.
Our most recent blog discussed our dedication to service. But the impact of our service on our landscape design is profound. As a member of the Lions Club, Keith has dedicated countless hours to the eyesight impaired through managing the CRIS radio studio for the blind and conducting eye screenings at local elementary schools. As a result, he is DALA’s expert for accessible landscape design. Through Jane’s volunteer work with the Danbury Rotary Club and the Friends of Ball Pond, she was exposed to the water quality crisis. Protecting natural aquatic ecosystems influenced her decision to return to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and obtain her MSLA with her thesis on stormwater management and landscape design. Not only does she incorporate stormwater management practices in DALA’s designs, but has lectured and taught the value of these practices to several organizations and at seminars.
Whether it be from our upbringing, travel, or service, each of these experiences has impacted our work over the past thirty years. We look forward to what is to come.