John Barker Landscape Architects

Specialty: Neighborhood parks, neighborhood matching projects, college campuses, waterfront parks
Management: John Barker and Page Crutcher, principals
Year founded: 1991
Headquarters: Seattle
Current projects: Port of Edmonds Waterfront Plaza; Corner’s Park, Ballard; SeaTac Community Center Park; Blue Lake Nature Garden, Portland

Photo courtesy of John Barker Landscape Architects
John Barker Landscape Architects designed Kirkland’s Heritage Park. Bids were expected to be opened this week on the project’s second phase.

Work has been good at John Barker Landscape Architects. But principal John Barker said the industry is changing because people are becoming more aware about how important green areas really are.

That’s due in large part to climate change, he said.

More green

Company projects are the same: turning impervious space into porous areas, making gardens rich, using native plans and increasing green areas. But the idea behind why it’s done is morphing into a fuller understanding.

“There’s a growing acknowledgement that green spaces are one of the solutions to making life livable on this planet,” Barker said. “Every project is about taking some overlooked and degraded landscape and turning it into a healthier place for life in general and that’s really what we do.”

New ordinances

New critical area ordinances make work harder for landowners and a little longer for Barker, he said. The revisions change what work is allowed in areas such as wetland meadows, stream corridors and shorelines.

“It creates more work because more enhancement restoration will be required,” he said. “That obviously has a big effect on the budget and it could kill some projects but maybe that’s what should happen.”

Barker said cities are just realizing they have a lot of dead space and that green roofs, buildings and walls are all needed to keep a healthy lifestyle.

He’s glad to be a part of it.

“Landscape architects are in a great position to do a lot of restoration and a lot of enhancements of urban decay and reclaim healthy ecosystems,” Barker said.

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