US Handiss Spotlight - Leon Hordijk

Handiss Spotlight: Leon Hordijk – Landscape Architect

Leon is a licensed Landscape Architect with over seven years of experience and a multidisciplinary background. He obtained his degree at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Landscape Architecture with a minor in sustainable environments. Prior to starting his own business, he was an Associate at SurfaceDesign,Inc in San Francisco, where he worked on award-winning projects along the west coast, and Hawaii.

Leon’s expertise is in landscape design, native focused horticulture, construction, and sustainability. His appreciation for the outdoors and natural environment is what drives him; as he looks to it as a source of inspiration, motivation, ideas, and solutions to our problems. Having traveled and lived in different parts of all over the world, he brings diverse approaches and adaptability to his projects.

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Q: What excites you the most about being a Landscape Architect?

A: I believe it’s the ability to use landscape architecture as a tool to foster change: Whether that is a positive environmental impact, rehabilitation of a derelict space, designing for social equity or simply the reshaping of outdoor experiences for the better.

Q: What factors do you consider when preparing site plans, specifications, and cost estimates for land development? Please share an experience.

A: This is very dependent on the project site. Each location presents a unique set of opportunities and constraints that must all be noted and synthesized. This then in turn informs the list of priorities, tasks and program. For example, a private sculpture garden will vary drastically in requirements from an urban plaza in a city center. The private garden may only have one stakeholder and a malleable budget., whereas the public plaza will have many groups of stakeholders generating input, with tight finances, and very specific review processes. Generally speaking, what gets considered is the physical site and its context, various stakeholders (including clients), budget, programmatic elements and goals for final desired outcomes.

Q: Outside of a professional setting, what has been your favorite landscape design project you have worked on or witnessed, and what made it great?

A: Personally I am a big fan of projects that transform otherwise unused or underutilized spaces and activate them to a greater potential. Although over-referenced, The High Line in New York does a great job at this, by blending contemporary design, preserving urban relics and adding a twist of rich horticultural planting methods.

Q: In your opinion, what place in your city (or elsewhere) has the most potential to be transformed by landscape architecture?

A: A very broad response, but I think all major metropolises (and smaller cities) in North America would benefit greatly from more progressive landscape architectural and urban planning approaches similar to ones found in Denmark, The Netherlands and Singapore (and beyond). More specifically automobile oriented development could be rethought drastically to create more opportunity for public spaces, multi-modal transit options, and green infrastructure. In today’s post-pandemic world, I think people are seeing the value of access to open spaces, outdoor recreation and shifting priorities towards healthier living.

Q: What is your favorite plant to add interest in all seasons?

A: One of my all time favorites is the entire genus of Arctostaphylos spp (manzanita).

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