Climate, Collaboration, and Culture: A Q&A With Kathryn McPherson, RLA

06 April, 2021

Kathryn McPherson, RLA, Bohler Landscape Architect Project Manager

With more than 30 years in the land development industry, landscape architect Kathryn McPherson, RLA has a passion for connecting people to places. She is focused on finding the most effective use of a space while creating an impactful experience for the end-user. Her designs can be seen across commercial, residential, and public spaces throughout Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area.

We caught up with Bohler’s newest Landscape Architect Project Manager on what it’s like to be a landscape architect in the Triangle, why she believes a collaborative approach yields the best return on investment, and what she hopes to accomplish at Bohler.

Raleigh is often considered one of the nation’s “hot spots” for landscape architecture. Why is this and what has it meant for you to build your career here?

For starters, the climate is great. Because we have a long growing season and short winters, a large variety of plant species thrive here. This provides landscape architects with a large palette of plant material to create vibrant and exciting landscape plans. Secondly, NC State University, my alma mater, has a great Landscape Architecture program, so a lot of landscape architecture firms began here and are currently headquartered in the Triangle. The state’s economy has experienced traditionally steady growth, creating the opportunity for these companies to thrive.

As for growing my career here, I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in different environments including LA studios, architecture, and design/build firms, as well as civil engineering-led firms.

Having worked in these different environments, what have you found to be the biggest differences between landscape architecture studios and civil firms?

I really enjoy collaborating with civil engineering teams. Having the civil engineers just steps away allows for continuous discussion between disciplines that produces strong, cohesive designs that provide the client with an efficient design and permitting process and ultimately a better finished product. It’s something I didn’t always have the opportunity to do as part of a landscape architecture studio.

As a land planner and landscape architect, I bring a valuable perspective to the overall concept. With the ability to envision the end-user in the space, I can help to ensure a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing space once a project is constructed. Engaging someone with my expertise in the early project phases gives developers access to added creativity, design collaboration, and professional guidance.

I also enjoy assisting in the re-zoning process–another opportunity gained from working with civil-led firms like Bohler. It’s important to incorporate planning and landscape architecture in that process to ensure the new ordinance allows for the look and feel developers ultimately want to achieve with the space. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to help write the documents that determine the parameters of a new zone or overlay district.

What do you hope to accomplish at Bohler?

My goal is to continue building the landscape architecture team in Raleigh. At Bohler, we’re able to provide our perspective on a variety of projects across multiple market sectors, creating almost endless opportunity for our team to grow. I was drawn to Bohler’s culture of empowerment, and the fact that the leadership team truly values their people and what they bring to the table. I’m excited to get started.

Any professional mantras for 2021?

With everything that’s been going on in the world, I’ve chosen to focus on enjoying life, and not stressing about the little things.

Ready to move forward with a landscape architect for your development project in Raleigh?

Reach Out to Kathryn

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.