It's our belief...

that the best work is based on strong relationships

Building relationships is at the heart of what we do: relationships between clients and designers, indoors and outdoors, people and nature. With a long history as practitioners in St. Louis and in the Midwest, we are mindful of just how important such connections are to build and to sustain. From our first meeting through the end of construction and beyond, we pride ourselves on being attentive to these relationships.

dtls our firm

[dtls] is a St. Louis-based landscape architecture studio, certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). Founded in 2012, we are a young firm, but our roots run deep. Our team of landscape architects brings over 100 years of collective experience to our projects. Including our time spent at previous firms, most of us have worked together for over a decade. We know what each of us does best and we structure our practice to take full advantage of our individual strengths. It’s much like our approach to planting design: the right plant for the right place.

As landscape architects, we pride ourselves on being translators. Our training and background enable us to be fluent in the language of the architect, the engineer, the builder and, most importantly, the client. We thrive as members of a multidisciplinary team. In this environment, we lead by offering innovative ideas, outstanding technical documentation and practical solutions for our clients.

Rick Kacenski

Principal

PLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C

Rick’s professional approach to landscape architecture stems from his belief in sustainable design and his commitment to restorative landscapes that heal people and the environment. Bringing this mind-set to all phases of project work, he employs a deep knowledge and appreciation of native plant communities to enhance each project’s performance and aesthetics. Rick derives inspiration and joy throughout the design process by harmonizing his client’s goals with the needs of the natural environment. His 35 years of project experience include schools and universities, medical centers, transportation corridors, corporate campuses and park design.

“When a bird sings a song in a tree in the forest, there is a sound. And if you are lucky, you are there to hear it.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Spring inspires at every scale.
  • Inspiration
    The media of landscape architecture is living.
  • Inspiration
    Things are always clearest for me in the early morning mist.
  • Inspiration
    The true beauty of the prairie is in the winter light.

Julia Montroy

Principal

PLA, ASLA

Julia has a passion for creating beautiful and successful places, and her approach is informed by her past experience as a sculptor and teacher. She is a keen listener who takes the time to investigate a project’s opportunities and challenges in order to derive innovative and sustainable solutions. From large-scale master plans down to the details of a planting plan, she remains focused on the quality of the visitor’s experience in the landscape. Julia has specialized in design and construction documents on projects that include corporate and healthcare campuses, streetscapes, edible gardens and guidelines for ecologically sustainable landscapes.

“The world is an ever-changing tapestry of landscapes, continually adapting to systems both natural and manmade. As a landscape architect, I treasure the small moment I have in the continuum of change to orchestrate and appliqué designs that dance between built and natural systems.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Discovery
  • Inspiration
    Admiration
  • Inspiration
    Frolicsome
  • Inspiration
    Illumination

Michelle Ohle

Associate Principal

Michelle is dedicated to designing land in a way that improves people’s lives. She brings to project teams a passion for design and an eye for the small details that make a big difference. Among her favorite aspects of landscape architecture is the diversity of project types and scales. She has designed healthcare and university campuses while maintaining her zeal for creating smaller spaces such as rooftop gardens, intimate courtyards and public realm studies. Michelle’s history includes work on urban public open space projects as well as waterfront parks, green roofs, plazas, parks and recreation spaces, and playgrounds.

“Being able to make a difference in the 'everyday' is something I look forward to every. single. day.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Everything’s clearer at 9,500ft.
  • Inspiration
    There is always room for silly in the built environment.
  • Inspiration
    PEEKABOO!
  • Inspiration
    Yayoi Kusama – My spirit animal

Gabe Presley

Landscape architect

PLA, ASLA

As an artist and outdoor enthusiast, landscape architecture is a perfect match for Gabe’s skillset. He has made it his mission to help create a sense of place through design. Whether it is the native plant material he selects or pulling from historical inspiration, Gabe strives to connect his designs to their context. In addition to being a landscape architect, Gabe is a trained urban designer who also has experience working in the Southeast. His background gives him a unique perspective on design and planning to allow him to contribute to projects ranging in complexity and scope.

“Cities are landscapes that grow and evolve naturally; reacting to changes in the atmosphere; accommodating growth and development. Time is a critical element that landscape architects and urban designers can help to strategize for.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    bring your favorite landscape home
  • Inspiration
    bicycling is the best way to experience your city
  • Inspiration
    have a favorite place
  • Inspiration
    know where you come from

Matt Snelling

Associate Principal

PLA, ASLA, CLARB

An advocate for the public realm, Matt seeks to enrich the shared experience through the thoughtful consideration of the “spaces in-between”, and to promote these spaces as generators of economic, social, and environmental prosperity. No matter the project, Matt’s primary focus remains the same: to deliver excellent work that reflects his love of the outdoors, his passion for design, and his commitment to clients. Matt brings 18 years of experience covering a range of project types including mixed-use, parks and trails, sports, corporate, education, healthcare, and urban streetscapes.

“If I'm ever lacking for inspiration, I just look to my kids. We have a profound responsibility to their generation. And some days, when they ask me what I did at work, I get to tell them, "I colored!”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Wilderness itself is the basis of all our civilization. – Margaret Murie
  • Inspiration
    Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. – Dalai Lama
  • Inspiration
    Good design is as little design as possible. – Dieter Rams
  • Inspiration
    Might as well jump. – David Lee Roth

Emily Straka

Office Manager

Emily is a Jill-of-all-trades within the [dtls] family. She comes to [dtls] with a diverse background that makes her particularly suited to keeping the whole team in line. Her formal training is in dance and studio arts, and she brings that artistic eye and sense of choreography to the office in many ways. The [dtls] team can always count on Emily’s strategic approach to critical fundamentals such as invoicing, accounting, contract writing, marketing, certifications, human resources and IT coordination. Outside of the office, Emily teaches art to elementary students and relishes her walks to and from work.

“I adore living and working in St Louis. Who wouldn’t love a neighborhood where a pig wanders down the street in the middle of the day!?”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Be yourself, because somebody has to, and you’re the closest. - Jack Kent
  • Inspiration
    The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. – William Morris
  • Inspiration
    If you look at it the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Inspiration
    Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. – Omar Khayyan

Brad Weitekamp

Landscape Architect

Brad thrives on creating meaningful places through the fostering of a fully collaborative design process. Brad’s design philosophy stems from his belief that the most dynamic designs are the direct result of effective client and stakeholder engagement throughout the design process. Notable past work includes his contributions to a guidebook for sea-level rise adaptation planning. His experience leading design/build projects combined with his business management background have helped to form his solid knowledge base in design detailing, budget forecasting, construction documentation and construction administration.

“I have the unique privilege of facilitating positive change on a daily basis.  The challenge of harmonizing the finest details with the broadest strokes to create a unified vision is what I look forward to each and every day.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Landscape Poetry
  • Inspiration
    Unfiltered Beauty
  • Inspiration
    Child’s Play
  • Inspiration
    Early Bird

Sue Wiest

Principal

Sue has a particular interest in working locally, and feels honored by every opportunity she has to design in the St. Louis area. She leverages her experience and eye for detail to ensure function and performance every step of the way. Sue’s skills in construction detailing and specification writing have been an invaluable foundation for award-winning projects ranging from improvements in St. Louis’ historic Forest Park to participating in the creation of a new university in Saudi Arabia. Through 25 years of professional experience in landscape architecture, Sue Wiest has been a dedicated, diligent and dependable team player, focused on fostering and delivering high-quality projects ranging from small-scale site design to large-scale campus planning.

“Designing a project is like putting together a 1000 piece puzzle; each piece an important 'detail' that relates to and defines the other pieces.  The best part of any project is seeing the details come to LIFE.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    Arizona – texture/value/shade
  • Inspiration
    Hawaii – pattern/balance/harmony
  • Inspiration
    Mexico – repetition/unity/gradation
  • Inspiration
    Costa Rica – line/direction/color

Linda Zambito

Intern

Linda Lee Zambito, views landscape architecture as a way for people to reconnect with the natural world. She is currently pursuing a dual masters in landscape architecture and urban design at Wash U, and previously graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in public administration and public policy studies. An alumna of foster care, she believes landscapes have an intimate impact on the way a child grows up and sees the world. Her passion is to create safe, healthy, and beautiful spaces for all types of people to enjoy, especially children. Linda enjoys running up Art Hill, visiting the Ozarks, going to new restaurants in the city, and volunteering in her free time for Building Futures and Big Brother Big Sister Eastern Missouri.

“Seeing a site, either built or natural, as a conduit between people and the environment is inspiring. We can use our abilities as big picture thinkers to influence that connection and impact.”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    studio muse: nature's details
  • Inspiration
    wandering: mt. ranier
  • Inspiration
    photography: people around me
  • Inspiration
    volunteerism: americorps
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