Integrating Land Development Services Across Central Florida

25 March, 2024

A Q&A with Kevin Aust, PLA, LEED AP


In land development, the importance of integrating site planning, landscape architecture, and site civil engineering services cannot be overstated. Incorporating each discipline’s perspective through each stage of a project’s life cycle results in a seamless blend of creative design and technical efficiency. This approach brings stronger results and enhanced user experience.

Landscape architects, in particular, play a crucial role in identifying creative solutions and end-user experiences on both macro and micro scales. To shed light on the significance of this integrated approach, we sat down with Kevin Aust, the Florida Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture in Bohler’s Orlando office.

When should a development team engage a planner or landscape architect for a new project venture?

Right away! Involve a planner or landscape architect before the project takes shape, during the preliminary steps of scoping a project.  We bring a unique perspective to identifying site constraints, challenges, opportunities, and elements needing further clarification. This early engagement informs a more comprehensive scope, reduces surprises down the road, and allows for more informed decision-making, covering aspects like site analysis, environmental considerations, feasibility studies, and the creation of use/yield diagrams and density assessments.

How does this integrated approach bring value during the conceptual phase?

Landscape architecture collaboration at the conceptual phase is all about integrating the functional design and engineering requirements of a site with environmental, character, and aesthetic design. Landscape architects focus on experiential aspects, contemplating how people will use and experience the space, ultimately contributing to placemaking. This includes considerations like shade availability, use of authentic materials and native plants, and both vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow, influencing the overall site layout.

Landscape architects enhance both cost- and experience-based value by identifying and evaluating opportunities to incorporate additional programming or integrating the site layout and engineered systems.  For instance, in an office building design, positioning a stormwater pond to the front and incorporating an outdoor seating area with a walking path and littoral plantings transforms it into an amenity that adds value to the property.

See related: 5 times early landscape architect engagement is key

In another example involving a townhome project, an alternate layout was drafted to maximize land use and bring additional value to the property. This was achieved by flipping the units to face each other, creating a central green space. The solution transformed a simply “efficient” site plan into one that established a community for residents to call home.

What role do landscape architects play during the design and construction documents phase?

Landscape architects often take on the responsibility of carrying the vision through to the end of the project. While site civil engineers traditionally focus on the site’s functionality and technical aspects, landscape architects integrate character and functional details with design elements that make the project stand out.

Incorporating hardscape and landscape design, irrigation planning, custom detailing and material selections, wayfinding and signage design, site lighting design, and assisting with stormwater management and grading design at this phase reinforces the projects vision and integrates a holistic perspective. Ideally, the site design team works together to blend form, function, and environmental design considerations to deliver high-quality results that not only meet the project’s basic needs, but also enrich the project and end-user experience.

See related: The Benefits of Low Impact Development Design

An illustrative example of this integrated approach making an impact is seen in the Ridgeville Distribution Facility in Ridgeville, SC. By implementing a low-impact development strategy, the design minimized stormwater infrastructure, reducing costs related to piping and earthwork. This not only exemplifies technical efficiency but also significant cost savings for the client.

This strategy can play out across market sectors and often includes additional layers, such as native plantings to attract, house, and feed wildlife, and the use of regional materials to tie the site to its local context.

Talk about a project that has been successfully implemented using an integrated design approach.

The Koa Bay project in Fort Pierce comes to mind. The project started with Bohler’s West Hartford Principal and licensed planner, Geoff Fitzgerald, providing master planning services for the 200-acre mixed-use development. Understanding how different uses complement each other and how end-users will interact with the facility, he and the client establish a conceptual plan able to accommodate all the end-users needs, including hotels, homes, and retail spaces around a Wavegarden surf park.

While the planning and landscape architecture team worked on creating a dynamic destination, Bohler’s site civil design team simultaneously overcame several design challenges, including shallow groundwater, insufficient existing infrastructure, and complex stormwater management. From initial site planning to full civil engineering design, Bohler worked across disciplines to advance the project and create opportunities that brought the client’s vision to life.

Creating Opportunities in Florida

Kevin and his team are collaborating with Bohler’s site civil design teams across the state to provide this integrated approach, resulting in higher return on investments for clients. Beyond planning and landscape architecture, Bohler also offers land surveying, due diligence, and permit expediting services.


If maximizing your property’s value and enhancing end-user experience are important, connect with Kevin.

Stay in the Know

Get our insights and latest news straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.