AIA, ASLA, LEED AP - Principal, Katherine Spitz Associates Inc.
Areas of Specialty
We are generalists in a world of specialists! Our projects include private gardens of all sizes, focusing on gardens which complement distinctive architectural styles and reflect the aspirations of the owners, as well as public streetscapes and parks, where we strive to reflect the spirit of the community.
Designer Q&A with Katie
What is your design philosophy?
To find that which is specific to a client, a place, or a community, and to create a landscape which captures that spirit.
What led you to this career?
A love of nature (trees most of all), art, and architecture. It’s all combined in this career!
What has been your favorite project and why?
My favorite project changes with every new project, I confess! I think the Poinsettia garden was probably the most fun, with the most adventurous client. I love color, and I am always trying to get more color into a project, so the colored panels of glass in that garden were a blast!
We are just finishing three gardens now, so they are becoming some of my recent favorites. The photograph shows a sculpture of California mountain lions, an art piece by Gwen Murrill, in a fountain. I love this because it conveys the wonder and the loss of our remarkable California landscape. It is a quiet moment in an otherwise very energetic garden.
Tell us about your most challenging project.
I think the challenges come in expressing to clients the subtlties of garden aesthetics, why they matter, and why they are worth paying for! Also, working with government agencies on permits is increasingly difficult.
What is your design process?
My design process is fluid, based on intuition and iterative developments. We start with big diagrammatic plans, because it’s important to get the “structure” of the garden right. Much like a good painting, it must move your eye around the canvas of the site.
Then the process slows down, and becomes very iterative, changing and changing as we develop the ideas for each part of the garden and bring them into visual form. I rely a lot on intuition, half the ideas come in the shower or in the car, which means the process isn’t always linear or easily corralled! We don’t think of a “look” and then impose it on the design.