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Duane Border Design
Los Angeles

Duane Border Design is an award-winning landscape architecture studio working on civic, hospitality, education and exclusive residential projects. The firm uses an interactive, engaging design process to establish a vision that expresses the unique lifestyle of our clients.

Duane Border has over 15 years experience as a design leader of large and small projects all over the world, but has found the most rewarding projects to be those close to home in Southern California. Duane leads a new design studio emphasizing the importance of ideas that bring new solutions to traditional problems, with an ability to meet the new challenges of construction technology, sustainability and economics. The studio designers share their excitement for the wonders of nature and are committed to sustainable solutions that promote the health and well-being of the communities and natural environments in which we live and work.

Duane shares his dedication to creating interactive landscapes with clients and design consultants, as well as his students at the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Department.



Curtis School, Los Angeles


The Curtis School is a private K-6 school nestled in the hills of Mulholland Canyon. Many of its facilities require updates and additions. The Ahmanson Building currently holds the auditorium as well as art and science classrooms ranging from 2nd - 4th grades and is receiving the addition of a music room and outdoor laboratory facilities.

Duane Border Design, working with Pica + Sullivan (architects) and KPFF (civil engineers), was selected to create a dynamic landscape design to this physically challenging site. The corridor is incredibly narrow, contains a slope from the terrace level of the Ahmanson Building to the neighboring classroom building.

A playful expression of native plant materials, seatwalls and enhanced paving combine to make the most of the limited space. Four California sycamores were retained on site to create the foundation of the landscape design. Drifts of sage and deer grass attract birds and butterflies to the outdoor terraces with the hope for impromptu learning sessions. Material selections were made to provide interactive experiences for the students and staff.

The Curtis School reflects Duane Border Design's commitment to bringing the wonder of the nature into the educational environment.

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Urban Lights, Los Angeles


Urban Lights is a 38-unit apartment complex in the growing neighborhood on L.A.'s Miracle Mile, one block south of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Peterson Automotive Museum. Working with the developer, Micropolitan, KFA Architects and Inovus interior design, Duane Border Design created modern lifestyle courtyards for the units,

The architectural design is an open-air concept of connected loggias from the street level entry, with residential amenity courts lining the north and south elevations. The southern courtyard is composed of seating gardens with comfortable lounge chairs. The north court transitions from a daytime relaxing garden space to an evening entertainment court with outdoor kitchen, dining and hearth terrace.

Central to the outdoor lifestyle of the project is a covered loggia of large leafed Grecian pattern plants, lady palms and vibrant red Heucheras wrapping around the inviting seating, fire table and Calder inspired pendant sculpture. From day to night and street to residential flat, Urban Lights provides a personal touch to urban living in Los Angeles.

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The Hesby, North Hollywood, NoHo Arts District


Duane Border reimagined a full square block urban-infill project in the North Hollywood Arts District in conjunction with Alliance Residential and Killefer Flammang Architects. The work encompassed a new streetscape and a street front terrace that expands the sense of hospitality to the public realm. The project encompasses a pool and spa, entry courtyards/lobbies and entertainment courtyards on the second level podium structure. Intimate seating pockets are nestled in the landscaped courtyards, complementing a hearth court.

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Marilyn Hawley Hilton Schoolyard, Santa Monica, Calif.


Duane Border Design designed the final piece of the campus master plan for St. Monica Parish, one of the largest and most active parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. With a generous grant from the Hilton Foundation, the project redesigned a 130-space interior parking lot that for decades doubled as a campus "quad" and play area for the 850-plus students, teachers and staff of the high school and elementary school on site.

The landscape architects established a design approach to alter the perception of a parking lot used as a schoolyard to a schoolyard that also functions as a parking lot. This approach provides students and their families with a sense of campus pride, identity and a new level of comfort. Additionally, the project adheres to the commitment by the parish to be a responsible, sustainable member of the community.

Basketball/volleyball courts and a synthetic turf field are centrally located for easy access for physical education classes, team practice areas and open play. The St. Monica High School Mariners have a wave pattern defining their primary gathering spaces and connecting each door of the two high school buildings (east and west) in two vibrant tones of green. Colorful courts frame the central open space with asphalt coating materials defining outdoor rooms and reducing heat gain and glare for a more comfortable pedestrian environment.

Seat walls throughout the schoolyard bring children closer to water conserving plant materials selected to reflect school colors and attract birds and butterflies to the campus. Custom shade structures, designed by Duane Border Design, are placed in the parking area where trees were not possible increase shade coverage and create spaces for social and academic gatherings.

The redesign of the Hilton Schoolyard breathes new life into the daily experience of the St. Monica Parish Schools. The Hilton Schoolyard is a vibrant, active space matching the energy and commitment of the parish schools and its students while balancing the requirements of the parish and its environment.

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Great Wall Winery, Shacheng, Heibei Province, China


Duane Border Design teamed with Johnson Fain to develop the new visitor center and hotel plan for the COFCO Group. The original facilities date back 30 years. The project is currently under construction. Located on the hillside site in Shacheng, Heibei Province, the winery is the largest wine producer in China and continues to expand its facilities at home and in Chile and France using traditional European techniques.

The visitor center and hotel's contemporary architecture and landscape design will be nestled into the hillside, with broad vistas of the working vineyards. The efficient and bold landscape design reflects the natural conditions of the site. Steep hillsides of sandstone colored stone lined with sycamores and pines make up the palette.

A Zelkova lined entry drive will lead visitors through the vineyards, slowly revealing the arrival court and guest parking in a formal arc centered on the grand interior rotunda. The red granite motor court will be a striking contrast to the natural sandstone color and riparian landscape of the site, and reminiscent of the red wines harvested and stored in the nearby barrel room. The arrival court will be framed with architectural sandstone walls and a ginkgo grove with basalt cobbles radiating out from a central water feature urn. The landscape layers will be limited to the ground plane and canopy layer to enhance the spatial volume of the court. The motor court eliminates curbs to allow storm water to filter into a gravel border.

Landscape walls near the visitor center and hotel will be dry stacked stones salvaged from excavation on site. The color of the native stone will bring warm amber striations in the hillside landscape near the guest rooms. The architecture will be clad in similarly colored stone, but using precision cut modules to contrast the natural texture and pattern of the dry stacked site walls. Native stonewalls will be a backdrop for the intimate viewing gardens.

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As seen in LASN magazine, October 2017, Firms.








November 22, 2017, 4:50 am PST

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