FormLA Lead Designer Isara Ongwiseth consciously honors the natural and cultural history of the sites he beautifies.
Prior to joining FormLA Landscaping, Isara conducted extensive research into the design of many urban centers, including Los Angeles’ historical Olvera Street, Los Angeles Union Station, and a Pomona pocket park. Isara continues to enjoy urban adventures and the advancing gentrification of downtown L.A.
Isara recently moved from a charming Art Deco home in the Korea Town district to Alhambra, where he is creating a garden of his own. He earned is bachelor of science in Landscape Architecture at California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
In 2017, Ongwiseth has four gardens featured on the Theodore Payne Foundation’s annual Native Plant Garden Tour. Each garden features 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 of 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.