Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JAN 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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28 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Miller even pursued his bachelor of landscape architecture at Texas A&M, Weaver's alma mater. In 1997, the semester before Miller graduated from Texas A&M, Weaver approached him with a dramatic request and a life-changing proposition. "I need you to come work for me because I'm dying of cancer," Weaver told Miller. "And I'm gonna die in three years. So you learn everything you can, buy me out and then take over the business." So Miller went from recent college grad to working full time as a landscape architect. He said that baptism by fire taught him the business at an accelerated pace, building skills usually honed later in a career, such as writing proposals, meeting other architects, working with clients, billing demands and resolving client payment issues. "How to figure things out was one of the biggest lessons that came from Walt," says Miller. Another lesson he would never forget occurred while Weaver was in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy. A hotel client called Miller and said they wanted to add small rock-shaped speakers into the landscape design. They asked Miller what color he thought they should be. "And so I picked up the phone to call Walt in his hospital room and then said, 'no,' and I hung up the phone," Miller explains. "And then I called the client and said, 'You know what? Let's go with brown.' I think of this moment and recall it at times because it solidified this notion of, 'Think about it, make a decision, be confident in that decision, and move forward.' And that's really what has driven my career: Take those opportunities and make the most of them." Weaver passed away a year earlier than he'd predicted. Miller had just received his landscape architect license, and, as previously encouraged by Weaver, bought the business. Miller was a sole practitioner for four years, and then in 2001, his company merged with MRWM Landscape Architects, where he became a partner. The Art of Design and Inspiration After 18 years as a licensed landscape architect, Miller said that Above: Four Hills Park, Albuquerque: Four Hills Park design in Albuquerque is based on the concept that a playground is not limited to a particular area; rather, the entire park is a playground. Inspired by adventure stories, the park does not include turfgrass, but is instead heavily planted with a variety of trees to create a shady forest as the setting for play and exploration. Boulder retaining walls create a raised terrace that follows a loop trail around the park. Opportunities abound to leave the ADA sidewalk and dodge through a copse of trees, hide behind tree trunks, duck into rooms created by masses of ornamental grasses, and scramble over boulders between levels. The center of the park includes treehouse-like play equipment that spans a huge area connected by the perimeter forest walk. The park also includes shade structures, exercise stations and a group picnic area located on a terrace overlooking the Tijeras Arroyo and the Sandia Mountains beyond. PHOTO: LANDSCAPE STRUCTURES INC.

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