Gretchen Whittier, Associate Partner, Landscape Architect, ASLA
With a childhood filled with days of eating tomatoes and strawberries straight out of her mom’s organic garden, and assisting her father build brick fireplaces, becoming a landscape architect may have been inevitable for Gretchen.
A designer with Arterra since 2005, she believes in working with the natural landscape to create dynamic spaces that are comfortable and whimsical. Her design and environmental aesthetic extends to her home and garden, which is an eclectic blend of mid-century modern, found objects and re-fabricated furniture and materials.
Gretchen graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, then received a B.A. from University of Vermont, followed by a Certificate in Landscape Architecture. Outside of the office, Gretchen can often be found rummaging through salvage yards for the next great inspiration, planning elaborate birthday parties for friends, snowboarding or socializing kittens for the animal rescue group she volunteers for and is a board member of.
Scott Yarnell, Senior Landscape Architect, CGBP
Though his design style tends toward the contemporary and understated, Scott also has a great love of the traditional New England aesthetic that reminds him of his native Boston. When he’s not at the drawing board or on a project site, he can be found running marathons, cycling, snowboarding. His love of the outdoors partners well with a career designing elegant outdoor spaces.
Scott recently became a first-time homeowner and is looking forward to spending much of his spare time in his new backyard, creating a masterpiece space for his family to enjoy.
Scott has been with Arterra since 2003, and is a landscape designer and project manager with an expertise in landforms, construction technologies and water feature and pool design. He is a California-licensed landscape architect and certified green building professional, and received a certificate in landscape architecture from U.C. Berkeley Extension in 2007.
Natasha Libina, Senior Landscape Architect
Natasha graduated from the University of California, San Francisco with a Ph.D. in Genetics, but found a new career path uniting form and function as a landscape designer. She enjoys creating exquisite yet sustainable landscapes that bring out the intrinsic beauty of each site, and is inspired by her travels in Europe and South America and by the pastoral landscapes of her native Russia.
She’s been with Arterra since 2007. She particularly enjoys designing with plants, and has used this expertise for Arterra clients as well as in pro-bono work, such as at the children’s garden at the Potrero Kids at Daniel Webster Preschool. Natasha also specializes in designing unique artistic landscape features.
In addition to her Ph.D., Natasha received a certificate in landscape architecture from U.C. Berkeley Extension in August 2008.
Elizabeth Melara, Landscape Architect
Elizabeth graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a minor in Sustainable Environments. The highlight of her education was spending a year in Florence Italy, studying Architecture. She became inspired by the rich Italian landscape, ranging from its subtle undulating hills to its striking red-roof cities.
Elizabeth has always been interested in the blend between nature and built form.
With an understanding of the greater need for protecting and conserving the earth’s delicate resources, she hopes to become LEED certified in the near future. She also wants to return to school to get her masters in urban design.
In the meantime, she enjoys living in the dynamic city of San Francisco and spends her free time painting, reading and testing out new recipes, which she tests on her brave friends.
Alyssa Erickson, Design Apprentice
Alyssa was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California.There she enjoyed the landscape by hiking in the mountains smelling the sage, and surfing in the ocean, tasting the salty sea. She loves her native land, but craved the city life which brought her to San Francisco to study industrial design. She then designed products for the home, and also performed space planning for systems furniture.
She changed career paths because she wanted to make more of a positive impact on the earth, and landscape design became the natural choice. She was one of the first 3 to graduate from Merritt Collegeʼs newly developed associate of arts degree in landscape architecture, and graduated with the highest honors. One of Alyssaʼs favorite things about landscape is to design with plants that have strong architectural form that serve a purpose in the landscape.
Alyssa likes to spend her free time cooking with friends, practicing Iyengar yoga, dreaming of sailing in the ocean, and building her vinyl collection of classic rock, jazz and 80ʼs pop music.
Sirena McCart, Administrative Assistant
Sirena is a Northern California native, raised in the foothills of the Sierras. She obtained a degree in Geography and completed master’s coursework in the same. She has a background in finance and construction of housing as well as solid and organic waste facilities.
She lives in the Lower Haight neighborhood with her husband, three daughters, and cat.