Parks/Open Space

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston, Texas

From devastation to resilience on the Gulf Coast

Houston and the adjacent Gulf Coast area were hit with two extreme weather events over 36 months. In 2008, the area was struck by Hurricane Ike, and in 2011, Texas recorded its worst drought on record. The 155-acre Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (HANC) was hit hard and lost many mature trees. The Design Workshop team discovered that the underlying soil was much more conducive to supporting native prairie than woodland, so the new master plan called for restoring indigenous grasses more tolerant of weather extremes. HANC is now a resilient landscape, a refuge for native plants and animals, and a model for other regions facing similar environmental threats.

Services Provided: Park Master Planning, Park Programming, Landscape Architecture, Wayfinding, Signage & Interpretive Design, Public Outreach, Cost Estimating, Permitting, Construction Observation


  • Honor Award for Analysis & Planning, ASLA National
  • Dezeen Award, Landscape Project, Longlist, Dezeen
  • Development of Distinction, ULI Houston
  • Award of Excellence for Design, ASLA Texas
  • Project Planning Award, ASLA Texas
  • Award of Excellence, Boston Society of Landscape Architects
  • Parks & Natural Areas Award, Honorable Mention, Houston-Galveston Area Council


Houston Arboretum & Nature Center


Reed|Hilderbrand, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Walter P. Moore, SWCA Environmental Consultants, Dr. Todd Watson, ETM Associates, Frayre Engineering & Consulting, PLLC, HydroGeo Designs LLC, Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, LLC, E&C Engineers & Consultants, Inc., Lake Flato Architects, Forney Construction, Brightview Landscape Development, Garza Site Development