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Vera Gates, LA

Founding Partner

Vera’s work is the creative imaginings of an artist and landscape architect, both playful and forthright. Her goal is to create beautiful gardens that enrich our existence, foster a sense of joyful wonder and evoke a strong, emotional connection to the earth.

She grew up simply on a small farm in Vermont. Her family worked the land, where they raised Jersey cows and free-range children. When she was ten, the family built a house with their own hands, from lumber milled on the farm and stones pulled from the river. The experience was transformative for Vera, and shaped her interest in the built environment and the creation of home.

Vera’s passionate pursuit of art began in her youth, with a variety of arts and crafts projects. In college she pursued the interest with classes and independent projects, including jewelry making, sculpture and painting in a variety of mediums. Still actively painting and sculpting, Vera finds that making art restores her creativity and imagination, fueling her landscape design work.  

She studied art and landscape architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, graduating with a degree in environmental design in 1984. After graduation, she worked as a water features engineer and landscape designer on resort and international projects. She opened her own residential practice in 1993, with the desire to see work built. In 2003 Vera partnered with Kate Stickley to create Arterra Landscape Architects.  

When she is not creating art and beauty, Vera is active with golf, yoga and biking. She is a huge Giants fan and considers an afternoon at the park to be one of life’s great pleasures. Her favorite show is Project Runway. She occasionally teaches and lectures on design at UC Berkeley extension.

Vera has one amazing son, who is studying architecture at CU Boulder. She is very proud; the apple has not fallen too far from the tree.