Who: Wagner Hodsgon Landscape Architecture
Where: Hudson, NY and Burlington, VT
What: Landscape Architecture for Residential, Commercial, Municipal, Institutional, and Hospitality
When most people think about landscape architecture, they don’t usually think about houses. Instead, they might imagine a well-manicured college campus or a city park—and understandably so, considering Central Park creators Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux are credited as some of the founders of the profession. Just like a well-designed home needs an architect, however, a well-designed site needs a landscape architect.
For the team at Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, a landscape, no matter where, is simply a series of interconnected systems. The role that water, soil, or human-made structures play on any piece of land can have ripple effects for years or decades to come. When the Wagner Hodgson team takes on each new project, whether initiated by an architect or a homeowner, they start by looking at a property holistically to develop a master plan, which maps out the goals for the outdoor space 10 or even 20 years down the road.
This future-focused plan will incorporate variables like what the space needs to support healthy tree and plant growth, that future pool you might want to add five years down the road, and even how your topography will weather stormwater movement and drainage. “Most people don’t have the budget to do everything on their wishlist,” says landscape architect and Wagner Hodgson partner Dale Schafer. “The master plan can help you see how to phase projects in over time.”
When the team is working on new construction, they can consult with an architect on how to site the house on the land, where to place the driveway, and how other structures should be organized on the site. (The team often brings in a drone to help map out a property’s topography.) After providing a plan, they can also oversee the work of individual contractors, from those hired to create custom masonry features or to curate the plant life in the gardens and around the house.
As a team that works so intimately with the land, it’s only natural that they design each space with principles of sustainability in mind. “We try to tread lightly on a site,” says Schafer. “We look at a site as sustainably and ecologically as possible, but we really do it automatically because it’s just in our DNA.”