August 6, 2020

Designing a Sense of Place with Jeff Westendorf, PLA

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Photo of Jeff Westendorf

Jeff Westendorf is a senior landscape architect within Westwood’s Land Division. Jeff works closely with public and private clients to create spaces that are safe and welcoming and provide a sense of place for their project.

Landscape architecture is an important element of the overall site design process because it unifies all aspects of the design,” explains Jeff. “Good landscape design maximizes the most efficient use of the site, building, and its shared spaces; provides well-organized wayfinding through the site; and contributes to a greater sense of enjoyment and comfort for the user.”

Designing for The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes

Jeff recently provided landscape architecture design for The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, an outdoor commercial retail center located in Maple Grove, MN. The result is a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere where shoppers can gather and enjoy the experience.

“For this project, we redesigned the existing plaza into a streetscape design including placemaking areas where shoppers can gather and rest; a larger convertible gathering space for events such as farmers’ markets and concerts; a water feature; fire features; and decorative concrete, paved sidewalks, and lighting to guide pedestrians through the area,” Jeff notes.

Jeff is accustomed to incorporating new ideas and trends in his landscape design. Some of the trends he sees in urban site design include placemaking, where design takes into consideration the connection between the people, community, and culture; incorporation of art; water and fire features; and different uses of materials throughout the development.

Landscape Architecture in the COVID-19 Era

The recent emergence of COVID-19 provides new challenges in landscape architecture design. Spaces that encourage people to gather and connect need to be looked at differently when it comes to social distancing guidelines and the use of face masks.    

Some of the changes that Jeff has seen due to COVID-19 include restaurants incorporating drive-throughs and adding or expanding outdoor dining spaces for more safe seating options. “In addition, larger public gathering spaces, wider sidewalks, and outdoor learning spaces for schools will also probably be looked at,” says Jeff. 

Whatever the challenge, Jeff is familiar with working on many different types of designs, from theme gardens to concrete walkways. “The variety of work is what I like best,” explains Jeff. “Every day is something new and I love the challenges each design brings.”

While away from designing landscapes, Jeff enjoys camping, fishing, and exploring the outdoors with his family. He is also a volunteer member of the local fire department and was recently promoted to Lieutenant.

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