2019 Contemporary

Landscape Planting Forum


Claudia West

Claudia West is a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design. Claudia is steeped in the rich ecological focused planting design of Germany, but now lives and works in the USA, bringing sophisticated, contemporary horticultural understanding to the realisation of her urban design work and its long-term development through insightful management.  Known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She has worked on all sides of the green industry—as a designer, a grower, installer, and land manager—grounding her innovative work in pragmatic solutions that address the realities of our urbanizing world.

She is a co-author of the hugely influential book (with Thomas Rainer), “Planting in a Post Wild World” which explores the ideas of when there is no wild left around and in cities there becomes an overwhelming need to re-create in designed and managed form, versions of this in cities to maximise the health and well-being of citizens.  Having grown up on a family-owned nursery, florist business, and design/build firm in eastern Germany, Claudia was propagating plants before she could walk. Her love of American native plants brought her to the U.S. where she worked at Blue Mount Nurseries in Maryland and immersed herself in the study of American flora and mid-Atlantic ecosystems. Claudia holds a Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Her intense studies of plant habitats and the science of plant community-based design strategies at the renowned school for horticulture in Weihenstephan, Germany built a solid foundation for her current work. Before co-founding Phyto Studio, Claudia was ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA. Her work was focused on bridging the gap between growers, designers, and land managers as well as introducing more functional and beautiful ecological plants into the nursery trade.