Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston, TX—Merit Award, Planning & Analysis/Parks & Rec


Jeffrey Bruce
Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co., LLC
North Kansas City, MO



  • Located along Buffalo Bayou, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 155- acre regional resource that serves as a critical refuge for native plants and animals and a hub for environmental education in the city. The Arboretum is a discrete part of the 1,500-acre Memorial Park designed in 1925 by the landscape architecture and planning firm of Hare & Hare. Developed in the 1950s, the site had evolved to present plants and systems related to more idealize ecological habitats. However, recent hurricanes and drought have taken their toll on its landscape as evidenced by 48-percent tree canopy mortality and the significant presence of invasive species.
  • The primary challenge of the Master Plan was to integrate the site’s ecological and cultural history with modern demands into a responsive, flexible plan of renewal.



  • The consultant supported the project’s lead landscape architect by providing the design of an integrated water management system aimed at minimizing the use of potable water and reducing the volume of stormwater runoff.



  • The project goal was to integrate a sustainable water management solution into the natural site ecologies to the greatest degree possible which would utilize passive, temporary and harvested permanent irrigation approaches. Special consideration was given to minimizing environmental, energy and water footprints and how they might be lessened as the Arboretum gained ecological resilience.
  • The entire range of integrated water sources were conceptualized to embrace every aspect of the water cycle and Irrigation water demand, stormwater management, alternate waste water and site ecology were integrated to provide a system focused on living architecture.



To view project images, click HERE