Four San Antonio projects were honored as the most beautifully designed landscape architecture contributing to Texans’ quality of life last month.

The Texas chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (TASLA) gave the designers behind Confluence Park, the Witte Museum’s expansion, San Antonio Botanical Garden’s expansion, and Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair awards for their landscape architecture, which incorporates natural design into outdoor spaces meant for the public to enjoy.

Confluence Park also recently won a national architecture award, but park director Frates Seeligson said the state-level recognition also shows the success of the park’s design. Landscape architecture is important to demonstrate conservation practices and the necessity of protecting the environment, he said.

“To me, landscape architecture is vital,” he said. “If we’re going to try and instill a sense of stewardship of our natural environment, and encourage people to come and learn about different native species, go to the botanical garden to learn about exotic species … All four [winning projects] are opportunities to be outside and engage with nature.”

Seeligson said the number of awards given to San Antonio projects signaled a new birth of landscape architecture in the city, and showed San Antonians their money was being spent effectively. Confluence Park, the San Antonio Botanical Garden expansion, and Yanaguana Garden resulted from public-private partnerships.

“We need this momentum to continue if we want to have the vibrant community we all want to live in,” he said. “These monies are being well-spent and managed, and they’re making a difference.”

Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said Yanaguana Garden’s award served as an affirmation of Hemisfair’s work and people’s contribution to building a beautiful space.

“What an honor, right? Of all the projects in the state, to be recognized for the design’s beauty is an affirmation of what we are hearing from the community who are using the park and falling in love with it,” he said.

Andujar noted the recognition also pushes further development as it illustrates the processes used by the staff lead to results. 

“One of our internal statements is we want locals to feel pride and visitors to feel jealousy,” he said.

John Troy, president of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, said he thinks San Antonio was so heavily represented in the TASLA awards because the city is experiencing a cultural renaissance for landscape architecture.

“I think people are appreciating the city [in which] they pay taxes and raise money for bonds,” he said. “People really love the outdoors here and that attracts talent. We have many talented landscape architects that work here in the San Antonio regional area, who have helped create really great outdoor spaces.”

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.