Bonny & Mark Hershberger 

Landscape Architects | Hershberger Design

By Dina Mishev ∙ Photography by David Agnello

Where would you start if you were tasked with re-wilding a 1,100-acre inholding in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) before it was assimilated into the park? How would you begin revitalizing the area around Jenny Lake, the single-most visited spot in GTNP? Most people would be intimidated by the scope and permanence of either project, but landscape architects Bonny and Mark Hershberger rose to the challenge of both. (See what they did on the former by visiting GTNP’s Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, which won a 2014 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. The latter, which was a five-year project, will be finished this summer.) 

Mark founded Hershberger Design out of a storage room in the couple’s garage in Wilson in 2001. At that time, Bonny still worked for Aspen, Colorado-based Design Workshop, where she was the first female partner in that firm’s history. By 2004, Bonny says she “came to realize that I did my best work with Mark” and joined him at Hershberger Design. Today the firm has six employees, more awards for both public and residential projects than they can count, and a fierce appreciation for the natural landscape. “We try very hard not to do more than we need to,” Bonny says. “We work outside in a beautiful place, and the environment needs to speak the loudest.” Here the couple shares some of the things that inspire them.

 

 

Mark: I always go for window seats when I fly. I love looking down and seeing all the different patterns. I have a stack of photographs I’ve taken from planes. Closer to home, anyone can check out the Teton County GIS [geographic information system] for free. I find lots of patterns there too, and the detail is cool. You can also go back many years. Find the Teton County GIS server at tetoncountywy.gov

Bonny: A landscape architect needs a good hat for scoping out sites and construction observation. I love the Sunbody Reata hat [made in Guatemala from palm leafs] for its practicality, function, fit, style, and price. And I can ride my horses in it. From $63, available at sunbody.com

Mark: I love the Wyoming landscape, but prefer its subtleties. I call it “white on white,” but really it’s just something that looks simple until you notice the textures. Then there’s a lot more there when you stare at it. I love looking at the vast monochromatic sage. I like that singularity of it and knowing that there is a complexity below.

 

Bonny: I’m not so much into literal representation, but more a thing’s essence. In her sculptures, Jane Rosen does an amazing job of distilling the character of the thing she depicts, and they speak to me because of that. [Jackson painter] September Vhay accomplishes the same thing with her red horses—she distills the animal down to that essence. Working on the LSR Preserve, we talked about stripping things away. It is not about dressing it up, but about distilling it down to its core. We view our work as art. See Jane Rosen’s work at
Tayloe Piggott Gallery, 62 S. Glenwood St., 307/733-0555, janerosen.com; Altamira Fine Art represents September Vhay, 172 Center St., 307/739-4700, vhay.com

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