About . . .

Contact me – by email:   rhynedesigns [at] gmail.com    

or by phone:  510-684-6619

based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, East Bay (Albany)

About:   Rhyne designs

Rhyne designs is a residential landscape architecture practice focused on client service with the simple principle being that the owners of a property should have beautiful outdoor spaces that they will love and enjoy.  Rhyne designs does not adhere strictly to any specific design style.  Instead, inspiration is drawn from the client’s own tastes and the project context, especially the architectural style.  Careful attention is given to a client’s needs and preferences while communicating clearly so that the design evolves from a collaborative process.

At the same time, Rhyne designs seeks to create landscapes in harmony with the natural environment.   This starts with paying close attention to landscape water use.  Planting is our passion and we specialize in unique and creative design with California natives and other low water use plants from the world’s Mediterranean climate zones.  Native plantings provide many environmental benefits beyond reduced water use and so become a big component of landscape sustainability.

Landscape sustainability is a big topic, one which Rhyne designs continues to explore in design work and through the ongoing series of Blog writings.  Should the project and the client be receptive, we are always interested in taking a more comprehensive sustainable design approach, looking at questions such as:

  • How can your landscape contribute to a sustainable world?
  • How can it allow you to live in a more sustainable way?
  • What can we do to create a landscape that uses a minimum of resources to build and maintain?
  • How can your landscape become a place of great beauty that you take pleasure in sustaining?

Rhyne designs especially enjoys creating outdoor rooms with interesting paving patterns, walls, fences, trellises, fire pits and other amenities.  Nicely designed landscapes encourage us to spend more time outdoors, a key component of a sustainable lifestyle.  While we love exploring all kinds of fun design ideas, we remain rooted in the practical and always keep in mind what is realistic and affordable to build and maintain.

Another key principal at Rhyne designs is keeping the business small so that I can be directly involved in each project.  It also allows us to maintain low operating costs and high efficiency, keeping prices low.  Coming from years of experience in larger companies I witnessed many different negative effects of having large groups of people working on a project with staff rotating in and out according to narrow specialties.

Click on these links for more detail on Rhyne designs’ Services, and Design Approach.

About:   Billy Rhyne 

I am a licensed Landscape Architect with over 19 years of experience, including work at several well-known Bay Area design firms.  I have worked on an amazingly diverse range of projects and have a thorough knowledge of the process of turning any piece of land into a beautifully landscaped environment.  As my career has progressed I have enjoyed honing my skills more specifically for residential landscape design.  There are many lessons I have learned in previous jobs that apply to residential work, most importantly an attitude of professionalism and clear communication.  I have become more focused on not just creating pretty pictures, but striving to maintain the integrity of the design through the entire process of budgeting, construction, and maintenance.  I still have a love for other landscape design types, especially green roofs and college campus design.  See my Project List to get a better idea of the range of my work.

I love the San Francisco Bay Area and moved here from East Tennessee in 1993.  In addition to my formal education and experience, I’ve been a do-it-yourself gardener for years, spending a great amount of time transforming a weedy Albany lot into my own garden and outdoor living room.  I continue to be inspired by the amazing variety of natural beauty in California, and spend many weekends camping, hiking and otherwise exploring Northern California.  I am also grateful to be a part of the incredibly diverse and creative culture of the Bay Area.

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Professional Resume:


•  CA Licensed Landscape Architect since June 2003, license #4796

•  Bay Friendly Qualified Landscape Design Professional, May 2013

•  LEED Accredited Professional, February 2009

•  Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects

 Member of the California Native Plant Society

•  Member of the California Native Grasslands Association

•  Arnold Soforenko Award Winner 
(for “extraordinary contributions to the urban forest” – awarded to the design team
that I managed while employed by RHAA, for the Hewlett Packard campus project)


Master of Landscape Architecture, May 1997
University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design
Cumulative G.P.A. 3.8; Area of concentration:  Ecological Design for Community Sustainability

Bachelor of Architecture (five year professional degree), May 1993
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Architecture and Planning
Graduated magna cum laude, cumulative G.P.A. 3.7

Work Experience (prior to Rhyne Designs)

Consultant to Jay Thayer Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA.
March 2013 – July 2015 (part time)

  • Regular consultant with this established high-end residential design firm, providing a wide variety of services including general design, planting design, design sketches and CAD drafting.

Consulting Landscape Architect, various part time positions at companies including GLS Landscape Architecture, and BASE Landscape Architecture
March 2013 – November 2014 (part time)

  • Consulting with several firms on public, educational, and multi-family housing projects. Provided a wide variety of services including peer review of construction documents, grading design, construction detailing, and construction document preparation.

Associate & Project Manager, RHAA (Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey),
San Francisco, CA
November 2006 – January 2013

  • As project manager, my role evolved into taking on complex projects and handling them independently with minimal input from the Principal.  Often responsible for all aspects of a project, including supervision of support staff.  Led the construction administration and field observation for several large, complex projects.
  • As an Associate, participated in the business development of the firm, including marketing writing for proposals, financial projections, invoicing, ongoing creation of office standards, and strategic planning discussions of the direction of the firm.
  • The majority of the projects I worked on at RHAA have major sustainable features, including five LEED projects and four green roofs.

Project Manager, Projects Pacific, Berkeley, CA
November 2005 – November 2006

  • Served as project manager at this fourteen person firm (no longer in business), worked primarily on international resort/mixed use projects, under the supervision of the Studio Manager and Principal.

Project Manager, Lutsko Associates, San Francisco, CA
July 2000 – May 2005

  • Responsible for taking residential and institutional projects from start to finish under the supervision of Mr. Lutsko.  Duties included all aspects of design and documentation as well as some construction administration and field work.

Landscape Staff, Cottong & Taniguchi, Burlingame, CA
August 1997 – February 2000

  • At the time this was an eight-person firm concentrating on Bay Area corporate campus design, with some residential projects, public parks, and master planning.
  • Responsibilities included design work, permit submittals, construction document preparation, coordination with project teams, and construction administration.

Graduate Student Work, University of California, Berkeley

  • Research Assistant: Involved in preparation of manuscripts for Francis Violich, Emeritus Professor at U.C. Berkeley (deceased), especially  illustrations for his book The Bridge to Dalmatia – A Search for the Meaning of Place published in the Fall of 1997
  • Student Intern at Urban Ecology, Oakland, CA:  Assisted this sustainable design advocacy group in developing a slide presentation and workshop given to Bay Area groups promoting the ideas of sustainability published in their book Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area.
  • Gardening Assistant:  Performed gardening and maintenance duties of all types for the University’s Blake Garden, a ten acre estate garden open to the public.

Work Prior to receiving Landscape Degree:

Intern Architect / Draftsperson, Boe and Company Architects, Benicia, CA
October 1993 – June 1995

Recreation Site Planning and Maintenance –
United States Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Volunteer Positions
Summer 1992:  USFS – Teton Basin Ranger District, Driggs, Idaho
Summer 1991:   BLM – Pinedale Field Office, Wyoming
Summer 1990:  BLM – Gunnison Field Office, Colorado

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