Phipps recommends:
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

STUDIO PHIPPS: SUSTAINABLE DESIGN GROUP

Growing green spaces for healthy communities

Center for Sustainable Landscapes

About Us


Established in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate our historic glasshouse.

Drawing upon knowledge gained sdgfrom more than a decade of designing, creating and maintaining innovative sustainable landscapes and green buildings, Studio Phipps: Sustainable Design Group offers commercial clients a unique perspective in both identifying opportunities to integrate natural and built environments, and finding workable solutions to sustainability challenges.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Business
Development and Design Manager
Megan Higgins Palomo at 412/622-6915, ext. 6215 or mpalomo@phipps.conservatory.org.

How We Work

sdgStudio Phipps provides a wide range of sustainable design consultation and education services with an emphasis on healthcare facilities, businesses, community groups and design firms in the Pittsburgh region. Led by a highly qualified team of landscape architecture and green building experts, the group is also collaborative in our approach, working closely with clients to meet goals with additional input from key Phipps staff, including:

  • Horticulturists,
  • Landscape architects,
  • Facility operators,
  • Construction managers
  • And educators.

Whether you desire to create a health-promoting garden space for your staff to enjoy, attain a green certification for an existing structure, restore native plant communities, or manage stormwater on your site, we will maximize all available resources to find the perfect solutions for you.

Our Services

Studio Phipps offers the following services to clients seeking to advance sustainability through their projects, helping to build healthier, more vibrant communities for the long-term benefit of both people and the planet:

  • Sustainable site design and consultation with an emphasis on rain gardens, green roofs, alternative lawns, organic produce gardens and green building certification
  • Restoration ecology, invasive species management and habitat restoration
  • Therapeutic gardens for healthcare institutions
  • Collaborative consultation for architectural and design professionals on integrated project teams
  • Research and monitoring of site-specific sustainable practices
  • Professional education and training on sustainability and design

Team Leaders

Megan Higgins PalomoMegan Higgins Palomo, ASLA, Phipps’ business development and design manager, is the former leader of a landscape design practice in partnership with Michael Brothers Nursery in Pittsburgh. She has also worked on acclaimed urban and master planning teams for Design Workshop, an internationally recognized firm in Denver. Megan has a B.S. in landscape architecture from Cornell University.



Richard V. PiacentiniRichard V. Piacentini, Phipps’ executive director, is responsible for the first LEED® visitor center in a public garden, the energy-efficient Tropical Forest Conservatory, the first LEED greenhouse, and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, designed to meet the Living Building Challenge. He is the recipient of a Living Building Challenge Hero Award, and USGBC, ASID and Green Building Alliance Leadership Awards.



Jason WirickJason Wirick, LEED AP is Phipps’ director of facilities and sustainability, working to advance sustainable design, and initiate safe, healthy and green operating practices. He holds a B.S. from Virginia Tech University and a M.B.A., with a focus on corporate sustainability and social responsibility, from Duquesne University. Jason has supervised hundreds of contractors on award-winning projects.



Our Clients

Studio Phipps has the honor of working with a number of clients who are raising the bar for sustainability in the region. Among them are:

Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
Since 2009, Phipps has worked with Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland to design and manage organic edible gardens in three interior courtyard gardens, bringing forth a bounty of produce for use in the café. Later, in 2012, Phipps redesigned plantings integrated within the edible gardens, incorporating native plants to create sustainable garden spaces that not only provide food and restore biodiversity, but also serve as places of respite.

UPMC East
In 2012, Phipps collaborated with UPMC East in Monroeville to develop sustainable landscape maintenance specifications for its grounds. This plan incorporated integrated pest management strategies to encourage populations of beneficial insects; strengthen the natural defenses of plants; and replace toxins with organic pesticides, fertilizers and soil amendments, creating health-promoting spaces for patients, visitors and staff.

Jefferson Regional Medical Center
Phipps has partnered with Jefferson Regional Medical Center on a sustainable re-design of its grounds to restore ecosystems and enhance the visitor experience. New landscape plantings, rainwater harvesting capabilities, rain gardens and native plants have all been incorporated to maximize biodiversity and aesthetics. Central to the project are also four barren interior courtyards that have been redesigned as therapeutic and rehabilitative gardens.

Photos © Denmarsh Photography, Inc.; Natalie Bowman; Paul g. Wiegman; and Ed Rombout Photography