Elemental Landscapes is a small landscape architecture firm in South Pasadena, CA, that specializes in site planning and design with an ecological focus.
We shape beautiful, functional landscapes that accentuate the unique natural and cultural qualities of Southern California locales. We combine our understanding of specific sites with a clients' needs and perspectives to create landscapes with a strong sense of place and a connection to the natural world.
By emphasizing sustainable methods, materials and strategies, we strive to maximize ecological benefits while minimizing environmental costs. We seek ways to keep irrigation and rain water on site -- where it infiltrates the soil for deep watering and groundwater recharge, rather than running down the street. We favor local and regional hardscape materials that contribute a sense of place (and minimize transportation costs). And we select regionally native and adapted plants that minimize water use, reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides, and support local wildlife. We apply this ecological approach with a designer's touch, to achieve beautiful, sustainable landscapes.
Elemental Landscapes offers full landscape architecture services, managing residential and small to medium-sized commercial and institutional projects. We follow projects from their earliest conception through construction, and work closely with our clients to achieve a successful outcome.
We approach projects holistically and generate ecologically appropriate design solutions that balance the constraints and opportunities of the site with a client's needs, desires and project budget. If needed, we coordinate with consultant teams, including architects, engineers and other professionals. And we help our clients negotiate the municipal review process that their project may entail.
Amy Nettleton, Principal, is a licensed Landscape Architect with extensive experience in planning, designing, and supervising successful landscape projects. After receiving a Master's degree from Cornell University's landscape architecture program, she worked for nine years with a prominent firm in Ithaca, New York. There she carried out all aspects of project development, producing proposals and planning reports, and shaping designs from inception through construction.
In 1995, she established Elemental Landscapes, and since then, the firm has fostered a range of successful projects and client relationships. 2001 brought a move to Los Angeles. Here an ecological design approach is crucial for sustainable growth, and Ms. Nettleton delights in the area's rich ecology and plant diversity. Her work encompasses projects of varying scale and scope -- from museum, university, and corporate landscapes to intimate residential gardens and natural wildlife habitats. Clients appreciate her personal attention, command of detail and technical requirements, and artful approach to their sites.
Amy teaches an occasional design course at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley. In this three-part series, she introduces an ecological approach to landscape design and helps each student develop a preliminary plan for their own residential project. She also lectures around the area on ecological landscape design and ways to interpret our local natural environments in constructed gardens and landscapes.
Ms. Nettleton is licensed in California and New York. References are available upon request.
Amy has been painting in oils for a number of years, with an earlier focus on still-life and nature objects. More recently, she has turned to plein air, painting out-of-doors and experimenting with quicker studies. Both techniques are based on close observation, and Amy finds that painting landscape enriches her understanding of the forms, light, and colors of nature and offers the challenge of rendering that understanding in paint.
Visit Amy's painting website to see a current selection of her work. A sampling is below.