ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

New Year, New Look: Landscape Architecture Firm Joins Wallace Engineering

01.08.21 by Krista Looney
No Comments

New year, new look.

Wallace Engineering has always been dedicated to the art of engineering. And this year, we’re taking that passion to a new level with the addition of landscape architecture to our array of services.

Howell & Vancuren, a Tulsa-based landscape architecture firm, officially joined Wallace Engineering on January 1st. Wallace has worked with Howell & Vancuren for over 30 years, and the firms have collaborated on an estimated 100+ projects. Now, Howell & Vancuren will be offering their services under the umbrella of Wallace Engineering.

This week, we’re talking to Registered Landscape Architects (RLA’s), Joe Howell and Arlin Vancuren to find out more about landscape architecture – what it is, who practices it, and how it fits in at Wallace.

What is Landscape Architecture?

While architects create the conceptual plans and aesthetics of buildings, landscape architects are the outdoor counterpart: they design the functional layouts and visual appeal of building grounds and other landscaped areas.

Howell summarizes his profession in simple terms:

“Landscape Architects help create and design outdoor spaces for functional and aesthetic purposes. We are involved in all aspects of projects outside of the building exterior – grading, paving and planting.”

A landscape architect’s work might be more familiar to you than you think – parks, campuses, streetscapes, and grounds or courtyards for everything from private residences to museums to hospitals. All the details you see, from the flowers and plants, to benches and water features to the paths and parking lots, are custom designed and laid out with a purpose.

Who are Landscape Architects?

Landscape architecture is rooted in art and nature.

Howell notes that while someone can find a place in landscape architecture without being an artist, artistic interests and abilities are a plus.

Landscape architects develop their concepts using hand sketching, digital or mixed media rendering and employ programs such as SketchUp and Adobe Suite (Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator). Their concepts often start out as artistic sketches and drawings and get transferred to CAD drawings and details later in the design process.

In addition to being artistic, loving nature is a must.

“If you don’t like nature or outdoors, probably not a good profession for you,” notes Howell.

Both Howell and Vancuren started out with the intent to be architects and ended up in the natural world of landscape architecture. The resilience of nature is one of the things that drew them to this field.

“Typically, built environments start changing from the day they are built and just deteriorate. But landscapes can improve, if designed correctly,” observes Vancuren.

How Does Landscape Architecture Fit In at Wallace?

Like building architects, landscape architects collaborate with other, specialized consultants who design specific aspects of the master plan.

Landscape architects work closely with civil engineers, and sometimes technical aspects of a project can overlap. While landscape architects can provide conceptual grading or paving, civil engineers are often called upon to provide more detailed grading, paving, drainage or utility plans, leaving landscape architects to focus on the big picture.

Additionally, surveyors are needed to map existing site topographies for development of grading plans, and structural engineers design site structures, such as pavilions, retaining walls or special site feature foundations.

This interdisciplinary collaboration makes landscape architecture a perfect addition to Wallace. The landscape architecture team now has in-house access to vital consultants – civil engineering, surveying, structural engineering and more – that can streamline the design process.

Take a look at a few of the projects Howell & Vancuren and Wallace have recently teamed up on, and keep an eye out for future Landscape Architecture projects by Wallace Engineering!

Chandler Park – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Renovation of Tulsa County park, to include splash park, playground, pavilions and clubhouse, plus new parking lots and roads.
Howell & Vancuren: Master Plan; Site Development Concept; Project Lead
Wallace Engineering: Civil engineering services for grading, drainage and utilities

Ruby Grant Park – Norman, Oklahoma
Former homestead donated to create a 148 acre park, featuring a memorial, trail systems, a dog park, picnic shelters, sports fields and parking lots.
Howell & Vancuren: Mater Plan; Site Development Concept; Project Lead
Wallace Engineering – Site design (layout, grading, stormwater detention) and environmental studies; Topographic survey for parking lot expansion

Tulsa Botanic Garden – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Multiple projects, including Tandy Floral Terraces, Children’s Discovery Garden, Entry Garden and parking, and most recently, the Peninsula Garden
Howell & Vancuren – Project Design; Project Lead
Wallace Engineering – Structural design of various site features including flag pole foundations, seating walls, pavilions and retaining walls


There are no comments.

Leave a Reply

Krista Looney

Structural Engineer

Ms. Looney has over eight years of experience in the field of structural engineering. Krista has performed structural assessments, inspections and roof evaluations on structures across the United States. She has also performed rapid assessments of and designed repairs for structures damaged by high winds, earthquakes and other natural phenomena. She has been a licensed engineer since 2015.

Back to top
close modal

Join Our Team!

Are you passionate about the AEC industry? Do you want to use your talents with a group of the greatest engineers, landscape architects, technicians and support personnel in the industry? You've found the right place. Wallace is unique in the way we strive to make lives better for our clients, communities and employees. And we believe we have more fun doing our job than just about anyone else! The art of possibility. Discover it at Wallace.

Learn More