Melissa is the Managing Principal for Phyto Studio and runs the firm’s operations, finances, and contracts. She is known for her detailed approach and systems thinking—skills she accumulated while working at a bank and at a leading Washington, DC think-tank before becoming a landscape architect. In addition to her managerial skills, Melissa leads many of the firm’s design projects. While Melissa has a passion for plants, she is known for her people-friendly approach to clients. She is a stellar project manager and loves the challenges of complicated detailing and pulling together a strong set of construction documents.
Receiving her master’s degree in landscape architecture in 2004, Melissa has been practicing landscape architecture full-time since graduation. She previously was a Principal for the firm Rhodeside & Harwell where she led many of the firm’s school campus projects. In that role, she designed many open-programmed spaces and features that allow children the flexibility to determine how they want to play. She also cares deeply about historic and cultural landscapes. She has designed large park restorations designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm and other nationally registered historic spaces. Her strength as a researcher, manager, and designer allowed her to analyze and interpret how historic spaces functioned, how they were detailed, and then translate how they can be relevant today.