For over 30 years, professional landscape architect Tom Pritchett has been designing beautiful gardens and functional outdoor living spaces. His countless creations have varied in style and size, from residential estates to large multi-acre commercial developments. Tom’s incomparable design skills have made him one of the country’s leading landscape architects.
Registered Landscape Architect
and Licensed Irrigator
A Brief Bio
Tom's experience with landscape architecture began while in high school when he was employed at Richard B. Myrick and Associates in Dallas, Texas. He worked on large commercial projects like the DFW Airport landscape master plan, North Park Mall, the gardens at Highland Park Methodist Church as well as residential homes.
Tom in Sausalito, CA
After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in Landscape Architecture he was licensed to practice in 1976 in Texas and began work at SWA Group in Sausalito, CA. There he worked on major projects from Saudi Arabia to the Bay Area.
In 1979, Tom assisted in opening the Houston office of SWA Group. Over the next three years, he designed several high-rise office towers and residential communities in downtown Houston and Sugarland.
Tom applied to Harvard University Graduate School of Design, was accepted in 1980 and graduated in 1981 with a Masters of Landscape Architecture.
While in graduate school Tom was designing projects for SWA Group East. Tom worked with Peter Walker and Martha Shwartz as their design assistant on national parks in Aruba and estates in Venezuela.
Finally Tom returned to his hometown of Dallas to open the P.O.D. Inc. office and be head designer. His local knowledge and high-quality design experience was sought-after by local real estate developers at that time. This led to work on The Crescent Hotel, Fountain Place, Addison Streetscape, Park West office development and Park West Commerce Center.
Tom opened T.H. Pritchett Associates in the spring of 1987 after 17 years of experience and education. This allowed him to pursue commercial projects in the Dallas, Ft.Worth area like office parks, highway and city streetscapes and City Hall. Soon he was sought-out for projects near and far.
Over the years, Tom has developed patrons who have become friends. Many come back to work with him time and time again. Tom's consistently high level of service often turns single-project collaborations into long-term relationships, and that's how Tom likes to work with all his clients. With Tom as your lead designer and point person on every job you'll get incomparable creativity and excellence in architectural design.
Tom's Story from the Ground Up
Tom (seated) with brothers Dan and John on their grandmother's Virginia farm
Tom Pritchett’s interest in the great outdoors began when he was a child growing up in Texas, a state known for its wide-open spaces. His parents, however, had their roots in rural Virginia where his father grew up on a tobacco farm and his mother a dairy farm. Each summer Tom’s family of six piled into their sedan and made the long drive halfway across the country to Virginia. During these annual trips, Tom was amazed by the breathtaking vistas of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway.
It was in Virginia where Tom got a taste of rural farm life. Working in his grandmother’s vegetable garden, walking barefoot down the dirt roads, throwing rocks along the creek with his cousins, playing among the neat rows of tobacco plants and corn, smelling the aroma of pine trees—these simple acts were deeply meaningful to Tom, as they were all rooted in nature. Each experience grew his love of the outdoors and its beauty.
Tom’s interest in nature was sparked further by his father’s photography. Though most of the photos were of family occasions like birthday parties and sleepy-eyed Christmas mornings, some were of scenic hillsides and vivid plant life, particularly wildflowers. As Tom studied these colorful nature photos, he was fascinated by each bloom’s uniqueness and wild determination to sprout forth from the ground. From then on, Tom made every effort to learn the names of all the flowers, plants, bushes and trees he came across.
One of Tom's father's wildflower photos
Little Tom in a tree
From his vantage point high atop one of the neighborhood trees he often climbed, young Tom saw more than just objects below. He saw a totality of colors, shapes and textures. In his mind, they combined to create a serene image, a work of art. Tom’s view of the world was evolving. His enjoyment of nature and awe for the earth’s bounty was becoming his passion. He wondered if there was a vocation that would allow him to draw from this palette of plants, trees and flowers.
In his teens, Tom’s appreciation for nature’s designs widened to include man-made ones—specifically architecture. He absorbed a vast number of architectural design styles and started drawing them for his enjoyment and reference.
LBJ Ranch in Johnson City
In high school, Tom began to formally study landscape architecture and apprenticed part-time with one of the country’s architectural giants, Richard B. Myrick Associates, known for designing such prestigious projects as the grounds of LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Dallas’ North Park Center and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. While at Myrick, Tom helped with several distinctive projects like graphics and construction documents for the D/FW Airport, master plans for college campuses in Saudi Arabia and park master plans for the Texas Parks Service.
For his college education, Tom chose one of the finest universities in the nation for landscape architecture—Texas A&M University. He won a scholarship to the SWA Group summer apprentice program based in Sausalito, California. While at SWA, Tom worked on the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, several San Francisco rooftop gardens, Aramco housing developments in Saudi Arabia, and the Boca Raton Hotel & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.
As evidence of Tom's drive to keep challenging himself, he pursued a Masters degree at the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Design. While there, Tom worked part-time at Sert Associates. Josep Lluís Sert introduced Tom to an important principle called the “Golden Mean”, a design ratio that helps create visually satisfying results. One can find the Golden Mean in the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Though it’s still an effective design tool used in many fields, surprisingly few landscape architects understand its advantages.
Also while at Harvard, Tom worked on more projects for the SWA Group, this time helping to form its Boston office, the lead office for the East Coast region and South America. Tom was soon fluent in South American design styles, creating plans for Venezuelan residences and resorts. These homes often incorporated garden rooms, fountains, swimming pools and special outdoor paving materials.
The Crescent Court, Dallas, Texas
Soon after gaining his Masters degree from Harvard, Tom was approached by Process Oriented Design or P.O.D., Inc., a Southern California firm known for designing the 88,000-acre Irvine Ranch. They wanted him to run their new branch office located in Tom’s hometown of Dallas, Texas. Within three years, Tom was their lead designer and marketer, managing a staff of 25. Thanks to Tom’s efforts, this office became the Southwest's #1 office.
During Tom’s five years at P.O.D., he worked on several master planned complexes such as The Crescent (a multi-use five-star complex), with the assistance of renowned Dallas architect Phillip Shepherd (who was also the master architect of the exclusive hotel Mansion on Turtle Creek) and Phillip Johnson (known today as one of the preeminent builders of America's iconic office towers). On one occasion, there were several areas of The Crescent that Tom felt needed impressive gardens while Phillip Johnson felt grass would suffice. In the end Tom got to create the wedding and dining courtyards he had envisioned, complete with feature fountains and beautiful formal gardens.
Richard Myrick, a Harvard-educated designer, became Tom’s first mentor. One weekend Myrick taught Tom how to sail on Dallas’ White Rock Lake. Tom found it such a rewarding experience; he bought a sailboat that very day! It was just a small sloop rig schooner that easily fit on top of his Ford Galaxy 500, but it allowed him to experience a side of nature he hadn’t felt on dry ground.
While working hard during and after school, Tom set his sights on becoming a landscape architect. He hoped to be more than just a good designer in this competitive field—he wanted to be the very best.
After graduating from A&M with a Bachelor of Science degree and two career-defining apprenticeships under his belt, Tom was invited by one of the principals at SWA Group, Jim Reeves, to open it’s first satellite office outside of the state of California. Tom was hired as lead designer. The office was located in Houston, Texas and Tom’s first project was designing the Adams Conference Center. Reeves and Tom also collaborated on projects in Dallas and Irving including the John W. Carpenter Plaza and the renowned Mustangs of Las Colinas at Williams Square.
Extraordinary features continue to be important in Tom’s residential estate design projects to this day. The hierarchy of space and scale of elements are of utmost importance to him. He understands there should be flow as you walk through a landscape and imagines the sensation of moving through it as he designs. Outdoor spaces conjure feelings and are experiential. Tom considers all this in each design choice, carefully bringing together the optimum state-of-the-art techniques and materials.
After collaborating with notable architects Shepherd and Johnson at P.O.D, Tom was sought out by prestigious companies like WET Design and I.M Pei Architects to design and implement some of Dallas' iconic projects. In collaboration with landscape architect Dan Kiley, Tom created Fountain Place’s water gardens and bald cypress groves. He was also lead designer on the North Central Expressway Landscape Design Master Plan. This project involved leading the volunteer group dedicated to existing walls, bridge landscapes and road flow. Tom also partnered with noted sculptor Harold Clayton, in the design of a large-scale, hand-carved buffalo feature and fountain for the entrance of the upscale residential community, Buffalo Creek.
Fountain Place, Dallas, Texas
Over time, Tom has developed a personal landscape design philosophy. "Each personal garden must be true to its site while complimenting its architectural surroundings. It must also be aesthetically pleasing and serve each individual client's unique lifestyle. I don't divide architecture, landscaping and gardening. To me they are one."
In 1987, Tom ventured to open his own landscape architecture company, T. H. Pritchett / Associates. He knew that being on his own would bring new responsibilities—developing clients and marketing his expertise—but he was up for the challenge. At first, Tom’s projects were about half commercial and half residential, but he soon realized that homes brought him the most enjoyment.
"Each garden is a living art form."
None of Tom's projects are identical, because “each garden is a living art form”. His fresh take on every challenge ensures his landscapes are unique, not cookie-cutter. Whether it’s artisanal stonework, handmade details, special furnishings or unexpected plantings, each element in his designs are chosen specifically to address each property’s unique setting. Unlike more static creative expressions like paintings, sculptures and architecture, landscape design continues to evolve and grow over time, literally. When asked what he likes best about his work, Tom does not hesitate to say, "I love creating one-of-a-kind spaces, and connecting people to the world around them, one outdoor space at a time."
Always ready to learn, Tom stays abreast of the latest creative uses of technology and computer-aided drafting. He’s traveled to Italy, France, Spain and England to study landscaping abroad. Historical and European forms and styles have inspired him to incorporate some of those elements into many of his residential garden projects.
One of Tom's favorite and best-known residential projects is his development of a 44,000 square-foot Italian-style estate in Highland Park, an affluent town in the middle of Dallas. The homeowner, Jack Knox, was the original founder of Patrizio Restaurant and owner of Cafe Pacific in Highland Park Village. This monumental project, in the style of an Italian villa, included a cast stone and iron gazebo, hand-carved fountains and decorative iron gates. It’s now one of Dallas’ most magnificent homes.
T. H. Pritchett/Associates quickly developed an impressive reputation. When the corporation Poly-America needed help with their 850-acre campus of industrial buildings, their senior construction manager, John Willingham, knew who to call. Tom created their building concept design and also master planned the property and golf course. He focused his design on natural spaces within the urban realm. This allowed the campus to integrate with its natural environment.
Poly-America main campus, Grand Prairie, TX
Poly-America was so enthusiastic about the quality of Tom’s work on their main campus, the owner, Steven Ross, next hired him to work on the family’s commercial businesses in South Texas, Minnesota, Nevada and South Carolina. Likewise, when Ross’ daughter needed a landscape designer for her renowned Dallas estate on Strait Lane, Tom was brought in to create beautiful, breathtaking designs. There were functional, unique outdoor living spaces and enchanting gardens, as magnificent as the home they embraced.
Word continued to spread of Tom’s exceptional work. Soon the President of Poly-America, Paul Kramer, came calling. Paul had recently developed the old world craftsmanship Castlegate Homes in Colleyville, Texas. Kramer wanted Tom to work on these residential custom estates and, specifically, to work on his own custom residence. Over the next 25 years, Kramer and Tom worked as a team on multiple projects within Castlegate. These included pedestrian gates, resort walks, entryway guard houses, fences, ponds, shade buildings, golf putting greens, fishing piers, foot bridges over creeks, Koi ponds, and even children's tree houses! Custom residences enjoyed lush landscapes and lawns and the occasional fountain, wishing well or infinity edge swimming pool.
Vaquero Country Club Homes
Following this successful collaboration, Tom brought his creativity to Westlake, Texas, specifically to the upscale neighborhood and exclusive country club of Vaquero. His outstanding contributions to the landscape led Avid Golfer magazine to call Vaquero “the Best of Private Clubs”.
While satisfying the client is a top priority in all of Tom’s professional work, he loves experimenting at home by planting whatever he wants wherever he wants! He’s created beautiful, tranquil spaces that he, his family and friends can enjoy.
Tom likes to tell his clients to “take back your front yard." By this he means they should consider the livability and beauty outside their house as much as they do the inside. Both areas share equal parts in how you feel at home. Tom is able to extend a home’s usable space with outdoor living areas like fountains, gates, grand trees and spectacular lighting. With his knowledge and appreciation of plant life and art, he’s able to “paint” the landscape.
Tom loves being able to spend his days designing for luxury estates and boutique residential subdivisions, because their large open spaces allow him to bring every skill and talent to the table. He delights in excellence and in being able exceed his clients' expectations by doing exactly what he loves.