About Merge Studio
The combined perspective: a process of arranging land and structure into meaningful outdoor spaces.
We approach land planning solutions artfully and objectively, offering a combined perspective arranging land, water and structure into meaningful outdoor spaces. Collaborating with clients, we consider their vision and needs, as well as what the space naturally lends itself to. We create opportunity and offer beneficial choices that add value by design; connecting the identity to place, and providing attractive functional solutions through our landscape architectural practice.
We believe in...
- Achieving balance between built and natural environments
- Aesthetically integrating form and function
- Adding value to a site while considering social, economic and ecological benefit for the long term
- Being conscious with environmental resources
- Nurturing dynamic, collaborative partnerships with clients
And we are...
Cary Bush, landscape architect
California Licensed Landscape Architect (Lic#5228), 2006
Louisiana State University, B.A. from the School of Landscape Architecture, 1997
Edinburgh University, Herriott-Watt College of Art landscape architecture program, 1995
After studying urban planning, site reclamation, and site ecology and working in architecture, engineering and the professional planning field for 10 years, Louisiana-born and California-licensed landscape architect Cary Bush founded Merge Studio in 2007. Cary is a natural problem solver who combines art and science to think through challenges. He had a vision to build a high-end firm that would practice conscious design in order to blend arrangements of land and structure with site-specific elements providing ecological purpose, function and aesthetic quality.
Native to swampy conditions, Cary is also able to withstand dry, sunny weather and is hardy in USDA climate zones 5 through 10. He is often grown as an ornamental.
Amy Bush, horticulturist + arborist + branch manager
Certified Arborist (ISA#WE8987A), 2009
University of Idaho, B.S. in plant science, landscape horticulture, 1997
ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ), 2016
Merge Studio holds tight to the belief that collaboration is key to the creative process, so it’s only fitting that horticulturist, arborist and wife, Amy Bush, joined the team in 2010. Amy believes that all landscapes should create a legacy, and as such, she promotes long-term health and strategy of plant material, trees and landscapes with her extensive knowledge of best management practices for proper care and maintenance in the American West. A California native, Amy is an integral part of the merge studio experience, and her regional expertise helps her unearth the story of a landscape.
Widely grown as an ornamental, Amy is a deciduous tree native to much of Europe, where in the southern climes her range is restricted to higher elevations. Easy to train for bonsai, Amy is often found espaliered as she is able to survive heavy pruning.
Mark Johnson, production manager + graphic designer
Born and raised in Alaska, Mark now considers himself a California native, having spent over half of his life living in Sonoma County. Mark’s experience working with graphic design and print over the past 20+ years informs his insightful and supportive design schemes. A lover of fine illustration and art, he believes in developing and utilizing a graphic language that clearly communicates design intent. Able to quickly throw together a quick perspective pencil sketch to illustrate an idea as well as develop a 3D rendered model, Mark loves helping augment a client's understanding of our process in developing their site.
Native to the west coast of North America, Mark is the largest species of spruce and one of the tallest conifers in the world. Due to his natural strength and structural resonance, as well as his inherent beauty, he is often used in the manufacture of pianos, harps and guitars.
Carlos Reyes, site planner
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, BS In Landscape Architecture.
As a Westcoast Native, Carlos has a deep connection to both Northern and Southern California landscapes. Carlos has taken part in a variety of public and private projects. With this experience, he brings knowledge in Construction, Planting, Irrigation Design, as well as Site Planning. He feels his role as a designer is to be a steward to the landscapes where he can help guide and design spaces to become more dynamic, adaptive, and resilient while still maintaining an ecological presence.
Carlos is native to the deserts of California and Arizona, thriving in full sun. His complexion is deciduous for much of the year but will drape a yellow coat of flowers come March, brightening up his green bark.
Erick Theilen, site planner
Well, no one’s ever claimed Erick Theilen lets the grass grown under his feet. After growing up and working in the outdoor apparel industry during his school years, Erick has been a successful designer and entrepreneur in several industries and additional roles include business development, marketing, government contracting and has had over 20 years of graphic and web design, product development, and general design experience. After a successful career in graphics and product design, Erick desired a more physical aspect to his creations and shifted his design focus in 2018 to Landscape Architecture and Site Development.
Possessing the old soul, history, and diversity of the well cultivated species, Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) represents Erick’s diversity of experiences, dedication to the project at hand, and his ability to adapt to almost any environment making him a solid asset to the team.
Chester, public relations
Born in central CA, Chester journeyed west and started his career at merge studio at the mere young age of “just a pup”. He, along with his people, shares a love of the outdoors and the natural environment. Over the years, he has become a familiar face when folks stop in to visit the studio. His friendly approach and wiggly welcoming dance always brings about a smile.
A small-sized deciduous tree, often with multiple trunks and an irregular form, spectacular showy white bracts in spring, and beautiful autumn foliage, Chester is native to the Pacific Coast and easy to grow as long as he’s planted in the right location, and preferably among smaller companion plants.