Biographical Information

348 Jade horiz 
Longhill Family Residence in the Colorado Rockies elevation - 9300'

I was inspired to pursue Landscape Architecture as a result of a chance meeting with Frederick B. Stresau - one of the pioneers of landscape architecture in the State of Florida. I met Fred in 1975 when he hired me to help work on the landscaping of his home in Sewell's Point, Florida. He had acquired a pristine piece of property at the end of a penisula, located at the confluence of the St. Lucie and Indian River. Fred was the ninth registered landscape architect in the State of Florida and a graduate of the University of Illinois in 1937. We became good friends and I credit him with inspiring me to apply to the Landscape Architecture School at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He was the embodiment of the title "landscape architect" and truly a "steward of the land".

After graduation with a BLA in 1978, I wanted to get a better understanding of the term "genius loci" or the spirit of place (in relation to our great country) before going to work for Fred Stresau. Fred was understanding and gave me his blessing to embark upon a cross-country bicycle trip as a way to experience this country at a grass roots level. I was hoping to gain an understanding of our collective consciousness as a nation in hopes that it would serve my professional development as a landscape architect.

I began my trek in Gainesville, Florida and bicycled to Crescent Beach where I dipped my rear wheel in the Atlantic ocean as the ceremonial start of the trip. I traveled between 50 and 140 miles per day through the rural countryside of Florida and South Georgia and on up to Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee. I stopped in Bowling Green, Kentucky for a few weeks and worked with my cousin on a large house he was building for his family. I drew up a landscape plan as a gift for him and then headed cross country. The route I chose was dedicated for bicycle travel as part of our nations bi-centennial celebration two years prior. I traveled mostly back roads, some gravel through some of the most scenic areas of our country. I traveled through the Ohio valley, the Missouri Ozarks, the plains of Kansas and the magnificent Colorado Rockies. I headed north through Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Missoula, Montana and the Nez Perce Nat. Historic Park in Idaho. After crossing Oregon, I dipped my front tire into the Pacific ocean at Coos Bay, Oregon. I completed the trip by continuing down the Pacific coast throught the Avenue of the Giants redwood forest and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

After the bicycle trip, I went to work for Fred Stresau and apprenticed under him for 7 years.When he retired, I was asked to take over management of his office in Palm City, Florida. During this time we were involved in a variety of projects all over Florida and the Southeast United States, including master plans for large scale residential developments, nature centers, private homes and industrial projects (i.e The Navy - Trident Submarine Base in south Georgia). Fred wrote My Eden (a book about the landscape plants of South Florida) and I became the principal photographer for this book. During this time I passed the L.A.R.E and became a licensed landscape architect in the State of Florida and became C.L.A.R.B. certified.

In 1986 I moved to Atlanta, became licensed in Georgia and formed a landscape architectural design/build firm - Swan Landscape Company. Swan Landscape grew from a modest one man office in 1987 to large scale operations encompassing landscape design and installation work all over North Georgia. The primary focus was master planning for large ranches and farms, custom residential design/installation in the mountain communities of North Georgia. (Birch River, Highlands, Chestatee & Big Canoe)

In 2001 while still operating Swan Landscape Company, I opened a satellite office in Silverthorne, Colorado and began design and consulting work nationwide. Swan Landscape Company was sold in 2007. The Colorado practice is focused entirely on design and consulting work for Colorado ranches, custom mountain homes, flower bed and garden design, and general landscape architectural consulting.

I believe in service to my community and have involved myself in volunteer activities that I feel have a great impact on the quality of life in our region. I am presently the executive director of Swan Center Outreach, a non-profit organization that partners abused and neglected animals with special needs children for educational purposes, A board supervisor of the Middle Park Conservation District, Vice President of the WillowBrook Metro District for Ruby Ranch and chairman of their Architectural Review Committee.

In 2008 I completed the Master Gardener course offered by CSU to further my knowledge and understanding of Colorado's mountain alpine environments and received my Master Gardener Certificate.

I consult with homeowners, architects, engineers, land planners, contractors and developers, offering landscape architectural services and project management. My experience as a landscape architect and project manager, landscape contractor, public speaker, instructor, rancher and designer, in almost every planting zone in the continental U.S. gives my clients a unique and broad base of experience that they can benefit from.

Professional Experience

Design Consulting • Master Planning • Site Planning/Landscape Development • Planting Design • Perennial Borders • Public and Private Gardens • Water Features  • Grading Plans • Resource Analysis • Concept Development • Budgeting • Estimates  • Construction Management • Landscape Loss Assessment

  • Thirty two years as a registered Landscape Architect and development consultant for specialty resorts, custom residences, and ranches. Maintained general consulting practice nationwide for residential and commercial projects ranging from 5k to 2M.
  • Five years as office director for a major Landscape Architectural firm and project manager for Landscape installation projects ranging in size from $5,000 to $2M.
  • Gained national recognition when two magazines ran feature articles about personal residence in Florida: South Florida Home & Garden and Garden Design (a national magazine published by the American Society of Landscape Architects )
  • Received an ASLA honor award for the landscape design of the Islandia resort condominium and an award of excellence for a perennial garden in Breckenridge, Colorado.
  • Has a regular column for the Summit Daily News during the Spring and Summer on High Altitude Landscape Design.
  • Board Supervisor with the Middle Park Conservation Board
  • Board member for the Friends of the Lower Blue
  • Chairman of the Architectural Review Committee for Ruby Ranch
  • Partner in a seminar company that offers educational programs on self-development & personal success coaching - Inventing Your Life
  • Executive director of Swan Center Outreach – a non-profit organization partnering rescued horses with children to develop life skills
  • Professional photographer specializing in landscapes and wildlife
  • Chosen as the primary photographer and consultant for a book about the landscape plants of South Florida, entitled MY EDEN by Frederick B. Stresau

Work History

Landscape Architect/Development Consultant (1978 to present)

President and sole proprietor of a lanscape architectural design firm - Consulting nationwide as a landscape architect and site planning consultant, specializing in landscape & hardscape design, public & private gardens, master planning and innovative design solutions for disturbed sites

President of Swan Landscape Company LLC in Atlanta, Ga. (1989-2007) - Design and installation of landscape projects for resort mountain communities in the North Georgia mountains - residential & commercial

Project Landscape Architect for town of Big Canoe, Georgia (1998-2008) - Consulted & developed landscape plans for developer and Property Owners association on a multitude of projects incl. Sconti Clubhouse, N. Gate Entry, Wildcat Pool recreation area, 12 secondary entrances and over 300 residences.

Project Landscape Architect for Achasta (Formerly Birch River) – Dahlonega, Georgia (2000-2004) - Wrote guidelines for site planning and landscape development and reviewed all plan submittals for residential and commercial development. Landscape design for Sales Office, Project entrance, streetscapes and numerous residences.

Director of Central Florida Operations, Stresau Smith & Stresau 1978 - 1985

Registration & Associations


  • B.L.A. University of Florida 1978 (minor in environmental studies) 
  • A.S. Florida Institute of Technology 1976 (Engineering ) 
  • Colorado Master Gardener Certificate

Community Service

  • Swan Center Outreach - - Co-founded this non-profit for the care of abused and neglected horses that are then partnered with children for self development educational programs. 
  • 4-H instructor for photography and horse back riding 
  • Board director for Willowbrook Metropolitan District 
  • Chairman of the Architectural Review Committee for Ruby Ranch 
  • Board Supervisor for the Middle Park Conservation District 
  • President of the CSU extension advisory board in Summit County


Company Info

By Design
P.O. Box 25689
Silverhorne, Colorado 80497
Office: 970-389-8496

About Us

By Design, Landscape Architecture, founded in 1999 by John Longhill.....