Student Outreach: ACE Mentor Program

Matthews | DCCM Director of Landscape Architecture, Eric Lanehart, was recently invited to speak at Creekside High School located in St. Johns County, Florida, through the ACE Mentor Program of Northeast Florida. Read what he had to say about the experience below:

I was invited to the school to give a presentation and take questions regarding my profession. I believe Landscape Architecture was new to most of the students, so not many questions. That’s common, Landscape Architects number only in the dozens, and so most of the students had just learned for the first time what a Landscape Architect does for a living. The talk focused on what a Landscape Architect does from day to day, how to become a LA, and where you might work.

I was lucky enough to have one student ask a detailed question. He was designing a facility for immigrants to stay until their immigration status is reviewed and processed. The site design was basic but had a unique concentric design with small housing units spanning out from a central point with walkways connecting each building. I told him this sets up perfectly to create mini outdoor pocket recreation areas, meditation gardens, and/or sports fields between the buildings. I suggested that he first keep budget in mind and strategically place shade trees to block the afternoon sun and place easy-to-maintain evergreen shrubs at sharp corners to soften the buildings. Walkways should be lined with smaller ornamental trees to soften the structured path system and use an easy-to-maintain, low water use, Bahia sod throughout the rest of the open areas. I provided a sketch, and he took a picture of it. I hope he was able to use some of the tips.

Eric Lanehart, PLA, ISA

The ACE Mentor Program of Northeast Florida mentors high school students in architecture, construction & engineering, and we are proud to help support the incredible work they do in inspiring and growing STEM students. 

Meet Our Director of Landscape Architecture

Eric Lanehart, PLA, ISA

Eric has over 20 years of experience in the landscape architecture and land planning industry. He has worked mainly in North Florida, but has completed projects in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. He has managed multiple site planning, landscape, hardscape, and irrigation design projects for a diverse client base.

Eric’s project types include amenity centers, parks and recreation facilities, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, multi-family, and single-family developments. He has always worked closely with engineers, planners, consultants, and client staff to gain approval prior to producing detailed cost analysis, quality renderings, and construction documents.

As an Arborist, he has performed numerous site analysis to determine tree species, tree health and structural stability along with helping clients reduce tree mitigation costs.

Eric is passionate about enhancing the beauty of projects through creative and sustainable landscape design.


In need of landscape architecture services for your project? We would be happy to partner with you!


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