Isara Ongwiseth, Lead Designer

A four-time Sustainable Innovation Award-Winner, FormLA® Landscaping Lead Designer Isara Ongwiseth consciously honors the natural and cultural history of the sites he beautifies.


Design Projects

Isara earned Sustainable Innovation Awards for his work on two projects that beautifully harness rainfall, feed their residents – and spark imagination. At the Gateway at Willowbrook, a multi-story, mixed development property for seniors, Isara transformed a small space between the structure and the 105 freeway into a peaceful retreat for residents. A front garden bioswale and edible garden at the Matloff Residence in LA’s storied Hancock Park turns heads and proves innovation and historic preservation can go hand in hand.
You may recognize some of Isara’s projects from local garden tours. The Art of the Garden tour featured this once-sunny Pasadena property into a shady oasis. Join homeowner Tom Schumacher and Isara for a tour here:

Additional projects, perennial favorites on the Theodore Payne Foundation’s annual Native Plant Garden Tour, feature more than 50 percent native foliage and showcases the tastes and lifestyle of the owners.   Located in Granada Hills,  Playa Del Rey (left), Santa Monica and Sunland, the gardens also reflect the needs of the environment found in their unique LA microclimate and neighborhood history as well as each home’s distinctive architecture.

For example, at the Weiss residence in Santa Monica, Isara designed to complement an historic farm home recognized by the Santa Monica Conservancy for its
extraordinary restoration.  The gard
en preserved fruit trees and incorporated visually striking edible gardens.  It has been featured on multiple Santa Monica Conservancy Tours, and its two IdealMow lawns and vivacious California native foliage make it a perennial favorite on the Theodore Payne Foundation Native Garden Tour.

Isara’s work at a French provincial home in La Canada earned placement on the Art of the Garden and USGBC-SGV garden tours, placement on the International Greenbuild Tour, a Certificate oUpsideDown4LinkedInf Recognition for environmental stewardship from the California State Assembly, and two La Canada Valley Beautiful awards. Here, his architecturally-relevant design replaced a boring traditional lawn with a Mediterranean garden full of vibrant coors and textures.

Isara also contributed compelling value for several developments and public gardens.  At the LEED® Platinum Lofts @ Cherokee Studios designed by Pugh+Scarpa-designed, the greenroof design evokes the legendary musical history of the site.  Gardens surrounding Sierra Madre City Hall save water and energy while reflecting the area’s history as a bread basket for Native American nations.  Isara also contributed to the lush, low-water design of the New Look for LA at Descanso Gardens.

Click photos to see more of each project.

Beyond his residential designs, Isara contributed to the Authentic Foothill Gardens at Sierra Madre City Hall, becoming an expert in the region’s historic role as a breadbasket for native people’s and the rare geology of its nearby alluvial fan. His work on the New Look for LA garden in the Center Circle at Descanso Gardens made led to its unusually long run on center stage and fueled his contributions to the evolution of Descanso’s California Garden.

Prior to joining FormLA Landscaping, Isara conducted extensive research into the design of many urban centers, including Los Angeles’ historical Olivera Street, Los Angeles Union Station, and a Pomona pocket park. He earned is bachelor of science in Landscape Architecture at California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

When Isara isn’t designing the outdoor dreams of our clients, Isara is growing his own garden in Alhambra or perhaps heading out to Redondo for some time at the beach.


Get to Know Isara:

  1. Tour a Shady Oasis with homeowner Tom Schumacher and Designer Isara Ongwiseth
  2. Grow Money on Trees, LA Times
  3. Create Long Haul Love,
  4. Design-In Community
  5. Change Your Lawn, Change Your Life

See More in Press Coverage


This post is in: Team