Explore Our Practice

Designing spaces for new stories.

A landscape is both a journey and a destination. It’s where we walk, sit, stand, and kneel. It’s where we’re going and how we’re getting there. Here and there we meet to find common ground.

We believe that public places must amplify the quieter voices and tell new stories. We believe that our streets should do more than connect us and that open spaces can open minds as well as hearts. We believe that landscapes should serve all persons, human and non-human alike – now and in the future.

At Arbolope Studio we strive to create innovative and impactful landscapes that balance high-quality design, social equity, and ecological resilience. Our goal is simple: to create a happier, healthier, and more connected world.

At a Glance

Arbolope Studio is an award-winning landscape architecture, urban design and public art practice based in St. Louis, MO. We work with a variety of clients including universities, institutions, corporations, and communities, at scales ranging from intimate parks to large-scale urban plans.  

Arbolope is a MBE and WBE firm certified in the City of St. Louis.


L. Irene Compadre founds Arbolope Studio with a focus on civic and academic landscape design. Soon after the completion of the firm's first project, a water-management focused campus masterplan for the Technical University of Loja (Ecuador), James Fetterman (formerly of HOK) joins the firm as a Partner and together he and Compadre establish an office in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis.

Arbolope grows to a team of 5 and begins collaborating with MVLA on what would become one of Arbolope's longest running projects to-date, Washington University in St. Louis' East End Central Landscape & Tisch Park.

Michael Powell joins firm leadership as Director of Marketing & Public Art.

L. Irene Compadre receives an Award for Distinction as an alumnus of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.


ABNA, Adriana Perrone Architect, Arcturis, Ayers Saint Gross, bnim, Bartlett & West, BlackArc, Blundall & Associates, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Civil Design Inc., Cole, El Dorado, Fentress Architects, Focal Pointe, Hellmouth+Bicknese, Introba, Jeffrey Bruce & Co., Kieren Timberlake, Kiku Obata, KPFF, MVLA, Patterhn Ives, PGAV, RBLD, Ruderal, Stimson Associates, Studio Gang, Tao+Lee, Trivers


Altus Properties, Big Muddy Adventures, Carillon Bell Charitable Foundation, Cherokee Street CID, The Delmar Maker District, Doorways Housing, Forest Park Forever, The Frank Lloyd Wright House at Ebsworth Park, The Green City Coalition, Jefferson City Parks, Keeley Properties, Kingsway Development, Larson, MAC Properties, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Historical Society, National Garden Clubs Inc., Piers Property Group, POAH, Rise Community Housing, St. Louis Community College, The Saint Louis Zoo, The United States of America (Federal Gov), Washington University in St. Louis

A culture of collaboration.

We believe in the value of a team-based iterative design process. In order to maximize collaboration at different project scales, we have implemented a number of strategy and technology based frameworks that our team uses to create, share, and communicate with project partners and each other.

Our Full-Team Commitment

We provide services to many different types of groups, from universities and municipalities, non-profits and corporations, to community improvement districts and neighborhood associations. Regardless of the client size or project budget, we provide a full-team commitment from start to finish. What does that mean? It means that regardless of scale or fee, our entire team collaborates on each and every project. This unique and equitable distribution of firm resources is one of the ways that we ensure that our emphasis remains on using design to lift up communities at all scales.

Our Office

Our office is in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis, just a block away from some of the best eateries and concert venues in the city. At any given time, there are at least two dogs in the office, and spring/summer happy hours on the patio have been known to attract a crowd. We take great joy in working together, and we try to nurture that sense of pride and community in everything we do.

A Mission-Driven Practice

Arbolope was founded as an experiment. With the intention of acting hyper-locally and supporting the St. Louis community, we were interested in exploring ways that a for-profit firm like ours could perform a public-benefit role within the city. After almost ten years, our reach has expanded regionally and our team has spread out across three continents, but our mission feels more defined, urgent, and more possible than ever before. Each of our projects are driven by the direct relationships we are nurturing with individuals and groups of diverse, active, and passionate people who simply want to see their communities grow and thrive.

Partners in Practice

Just a few other firms and allied professionals from around the world that we consider to be good friends with aligned missions, whose work we love to support:

Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Base Landscape Architecture, Studio-MLA, Kotchakon Voraakhom, Dorothée Imbert, Axi:0me, Linda Samuels, Derek Hoeferlin, Ruderal, Albie Mitchell, Serhii Chrucky, and Natalie Yates.

Climate Change & Sustainability

As landscape architects we are agents of change – we help to define places and how to get there. Our role in site design at all scales is to forge a strong relationship between program and place, to account for the needs of humans and non-humans alike, and to set up resilient infrastructures that can accommodate change. Our profession is a sort of vanguard – and there is a type of social contract in that – a call to lead. So, we strive to build coalitions, garner consensus, and carefully yet boldly bake our ideals regarding ecological resilience and social equity into the decisions we make about how and why spaces get created and for whom.

Sustainability in Practice: The Report

We are currently working to quantify our carbon and overall eco-footprint. Check back soon for the launch of that data and the publishing of more information about how our project material choices and office practices are helping to lower our impact on the enviornment and support local ecologies.

Nativescaping: Using Native & Adapted Plants

Nativescaping refers to the practice of designing planting plans that mimic how they might appear in unmanaged environs – which means only using plants that are considered native, endemic, or historically adapted to the area and which support the local ecology by creating habitat and food for native pollinators such as ants, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and moths; curbing erosion and stormwater runoff; and encouraging conservation of our special ecosystems.

Native plants are a great choice for public parks, streetscapes, and home gardens alike because they provide a sense of connection with the local landscape, are genetically adapted to local weather and soil conditions (thus requiring fewer resources and less maintenance), and provide food and habitat for local wildlife. By ensuring biodiversity when selecting plants, we help to make our communities – human and non-human alike – more resilient in the face of a changing climate.

In the Midwest: Stormwater Management

As a firm based in the midwestern United States, one of the key issues facing us today is how to anticipate, manage, and utilize stormwater. As the world's climate shifts, the midwest is expected to recieve even more rain than before, so we utilize new and next-generation landscape technologies across many of our projects, allowing for our project sites to capture, utilize, and recycle that water in ways that benefit plants, humans, animals, and insects alike.

Environmental Justice: Ecological Resilience X Social Equity

Landscape design has a unique role to play in helping communities become more resilient in the face of an intensifying climate crisis. Environmental justice and social equity go hand-in-hand, because the people most effected by rising sea levels, soaring heat indexes, escalating food prices, contamination of potable water, severe flooding, and increased pollution are overwhelmingly those living in underserved, disinvested, minority communities. So, there are serious implications at many scales if we aren’t able to quantify, value, and implement site-based strategies for mitigating the impacts of these eco-crisis.

Well-designed, safe, and responsive public spaces strengthen communities at all levels, improving infrastructure, jump-starting civic pride, and helping to bridge systemic inequalities like access to healthy food and safe drinking water. At Arbolope, we believe in the power of design in the public realm to do good, and we collaborate with each of our community partners to create right-fit, hyper-local design solutions that tackle the intertwined issues of ecological resilience and equity.

Building Equity & Inclusion.

Creating a diverse and equitable workforce is a priority for our team. We know that our clients are better served by this diversity and that creativity is born from different perspectives, backgrounds and lived experiences. In fact, Arbolope, which is 100% Women+Minority Owned, has maintained a majority women-identifying & minority-identifying staff since it’s founding. These demographics do not represent quotas or mandates; they are important indicators of our united perspective: that design can play a key role in shaping a more equitable world. 

We believe that design in the public realm requires a deep empathy that only comes from interacting, observing and collaborating with as many people from different backgrounds as possible. For this reason Arbolope Studio is committed to creating an office culture, collaborative partnerships, and built work that are welcoming and inclusive for all. We want to bring people together regardless of background, race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, or ability to interact in safe, productive and inspiring ways. 

Can landscape architecture make the world a better place? We believe it can.

Our Pledge

We commit to delivering design services that: 

Promote ecological resilience
Support social equity
Enhance accessibility for all
Connect people to each other
Innovate purposefully 
Inspire and enrich

WMBE Certifications

Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)
Certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE)
Categories: #541320, #711510
City of St. Louis

Small Business Enterprise
Disadvantaged Small Business Enterprise