About

Photo by Darren S. Higgins

Thomas Rainer is a registered landscape architect, teacher, and author living in Arlington, Virginia. Thomas, a leading voice in ecological landscape design, has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and The New York Botanical Garden, as well as over 100 gardens from Maine to Florida. He is a celebrated public speaker who has garnered acclaim for his passionate presentations to audiences across the U.S. and in Europe. Thomas serves as a Principal for the landscape architectural firm Phyto Studio in Washington, D.C. with Claudia West and Melissa Rainer.

Thomas received his Masters Degree from the University of Georgia. After graduate school, Thomas worked for the firm Oehme, van Sweden and Associates. He has a broad range of experience in project types ranging from intimate residential gardens to expansive estates, rooftop gardens, botanical gardens, civic spaces, large-scale ecological restorations, and national memorials. He has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Landscape Architecture Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and Architectural Digest.

While passionate about design and focusing on details, Thomas is a specialist in applying innovative planting concepts to create ecologically-functional designed landscapes. His recent work focuses on the artful interpretation of wild plant communities into designed plantings that thrive in the context of towns and cities.  He also continues to love working on residential gardens, enjoying the intimate collaboration with clients and creating spaces. 

Thomas teaches planting design for the George Washington University Landscape Design program. His recently published book co-authored with Claudia West, Planting in a Post-Wild World, was released in fall 2015 from Timber Press and was selected by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 2016 books of the year.
 

MORE THAN EVER, we need planting solutions that are resilient, ecologically functional, and beautiful. our goal is not merely to create more functional landscapes, but to make people see again, to make them remember. we arrange plants in ways that will conjure experiences of the ephemeral. it is not the plants themselves that have power; it is their patterns, textures, and colors--particulary those that evoke wildness--that become animated as light and life pass through them.”