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Rooted Passions: My Journey into Landscape Architecture

Rooted Passions digs into the origin stories of Hitchcock Design Group’s fascination with landscape architecture, horticulture, urban planning, and design.

Maya Puller, Junior Associate II | Austin Office

Maya’s decision to pursue landscape architecture emerged from a series of experiences and realizations that gradually shaped her career trajectory. Originally majoring in environmental science and minoring in plant science with a focus on horticulture and design at University of Missouri, Maya’s transition into landscape architecture was marked by a genuine passion to explore the intersection of nature and the creative arts. 

However, it was not until Maya could delve deeper into landscape architecture courses that she found her calling. These courses provided her with a platform to explore the intricate fusion of environmental sustainability, artistic expression, and practical design principles that define the field. Through hands-on projects and collaborative learning environments, Maya was able to immerse herself in the creative process of shaping outdoor spaces, fostering a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose. 

The pivotal moment in Maya’s journey came during her senior year when she landed an internship with a residential landscape architecture firm. This hands-on experience offered her valuable insights into the day-to-day realities of the profession. Working alongside seasoned professionals, Maya had the opportunity to apply her knowledge of horticulture in real-world projects, witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of thoughtful landscape design on communities and individuals. 

Since joining Hitchcock Design Group’s Austin office, Maya has thrived in her role, bringing a wealth of knowledge in horticulture to the table. Her unique background in environmental science and plant science has equipped her with a holistic understanding of ecology, allowing her to approach design challenges with creativity and innovation. Whether conceptualizing sustainable green spaces or incorporating native plant species into her designs, Maya continues to explore the intersection of nature and her own creativity, infusing her work with a deep-rooted passion for environmental stewardship. 

In the vibrant landscape architecture community of Austin, Maya has found a home where her skills and passions converge seamlessly. For Maya, the decision to pursue landscape architecture was not just a career choice but a realization of her dedication to creating harmonious environments that enrich the lives of others and preserve the beauty of the natural world. 

Favorite Project: Southeast Metro Park, Austin, Texas


Shannon Harcourt, Senior Associate | Indianapolis Office

For Shannon, the journey into landscape architecture was not just a career choice but a realization of a passion: to combine a love of the outdoors, environmental sustainability, and connecting people to one another. Growing up in a family where creativity and innovation were cherished, Shannon was exposed to the world of architecture, engineering, and construction at an early age as her mother is an interior designer and her father a civil engineer. 

Despite working at her mom’s architecture firm during high school, Shannon didn’t feel the spark she was hoping for. It was a moment of serendipity while watching the movie “Just Like Heaven” that ignited Shannon’s interest in landscape architecture. Seeing the main character portrayed as a landscape architect, Shannon found herself captivated by the idea of blending her passions for nature and design in a meaningful way. 

The realization dawned on Shannon that landscape architecture offered the perfect marriage of her interests – the opportunity to create spaces that not only harmonize with the natural environment but foster connections between people and their surroundings. Inspired by this newfound passion, Shannon decided to pursue a degree in landscape architecture. 

Throughout her academic journey at Ball State University, Shannon immersed herself in the study of landscape architecture, gaining insights into the principles of design, environmental sustainability, and community engagement. She found herself drawn to projects that allowed her to explore innovative ways of integrating nature into the built environment while enhancing the wellbeing of individuals and communities. 

For Shannon, landscape architecture is more than just a profession – it’s a calling. It’s about creating spaces that not only inspire and delight but also serve a higher purpose by fostering connections and enhancing quality of life. Through her journey, Shannon has found fulfillment in knowing that she’s contributing to a better, more sustainable future, one design at a time. 

Favorite Project: Riverfront Redevelopment, Columbus, Indiana.



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