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 Landscape Architecture

DTLS is a St. Louis-based landscape architecture and urban design studio, certified as a Federal Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). Founded in 2012, we are a young firm, but our roots run deep. Our team of professionals 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 and urban designers, 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.

Shelbey Brittin

Landscape Architectural Designer | asla, sites AP

With a dual degree in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Shelbey brings a broad background to the DTLS team. Her education has instilled an appreciation of the positive potential of built spaces to affect human experience. In her studies, she has found her passion lies in designing places that integrate interior and exterior space, places that take on lives of their own, building resiliency through ecological systems. In Landscape Architecture, she has found a vehicle for her passion for helping to build communities that balance the needs of people, flora and fauna. Shelbey is a keen observer and listener for whom intuition and reason go hand in hand. Her design philosophy reflects her personality: Understated, strategic interventions can yield profound benefits.

“I strive to work toward making our world more environmentally friendly and resilient”

Inspiration

  • Inspiration
    city gems
  • Inspiration
    hometown memories
  • Inspiration
    neighborhood rides
  • Inspiration
    new adventures

Allyssa Gray

landscape architectural designer | ASLA

The love for people, the passion to make a difference, and the love of the outdoors inspired Allyssa to become a landscape architectural designer. Her professional interests lie somewhere between landscape architecture and urban planning. While in school, however, Allyssa focused part of her studies on ecological restoration of rivers and creeks at the local and regional scale, and she emphasizes the strong connection between people and water in every project possible. Her designs are inspired by the community, history and the future. Allyssa enjoys engaging with the community and discovering how design can change the community’s perception of their neighborhood while creating lasting and impactful projects.

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Inspiration

    Rick Kacenski

    Principal Emeritus | Landscape Architect | ASLA, LEED AP

    Rick Kacenski’s professional approach to landscape architecture stems from his belief in sustainable design and his commitment to restorative landscapes that heal both people and the environment. Through his 40 years of practice, he has brought this mind-set to all phases of project work, employing 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 clients’ goals with his understanding of the surrounding natural environment. His project experience spans the block, the state, the nation and the globe – from intimate school yards in St. Louis City to corporate campuses in China and Saudi Arabia. No matter the challenge – playgrounds, schools and universities, medical centers, transportation corridors, corporate campuses and park design – Rick takes the time to make sure the right plant is deployed in the right place.
    As a Principal Emeritus at DTLS Landscape Architecture, Rick’s deep body of knowledge continues to influence projects in the St. Louis region and beyond.

    “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.

    Lauren McDaniel

    Landscape Architectural Designer | ASLA

    Lauren’s design process is guided by a passion for soils and native plants. She was inspired by her studies in geoscience to pursue a degree in Landscape Architecture as a way to bridge the gap between the environment and citizens through design. One of her interests is the use of play as a means of building sustainable and resilient communities and citizens through passive and active interaction. She finds joy in designing projects that covertly expand peoples knowledge by simply inhabiting a space. Lauren brings to the team experience in residential design, community outreach, and designing with native plants.

    “”

    Inspiration

      Julia Montroy

      PLA, ASLA, LEED GA | Principal

      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

      Principal | Landscape Architect | ASLA, LEED AP

      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

      Kaitlyn Poehlein

      Landscape Architectural Designer | ASLA

      Kaitlyn joins DTLS bringing 5 years of professional experience in the St. Louis region. She looks to nature for inspiration in her work, and lets natural textures, forms, and relationships inform her designs. Through her past experience in Landscape Architecture practices and performing maintenance roles at various historic landscape sites, Kaitlyn has acquired a deep reverence for the layered cultural and historical context that each site brings as well as an understanding of the realities and challenges of caring for designed outdoor spaces. Kaitlyn also enjoys public facilitation and outreach, both professionally and outside of work, where she participates in landscape architectural advocacy efforts and as a leader in annual Park(ing) Day events across St. Louis. She values building connections of all sorts in her work and strives to link people and communities to the natural world.

      “”

      Inspiration

        Gabe Presley

        Landscape Architect + Urban Designer | 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

        Principal | ASLA

        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

        principal | comptroller

        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 | asla, SITES AP

        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 | Landscape Architect |ASLA

        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
        All of us