Oona Johnsen is the principal of OONA JOHNSEN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE (OJ-LA) and a California licensed landscape architect with over 15 years' of experience in the field of landscape architecture and planning. A leader in promoting sustainable and ecological approaches to site and landscape design, her specialties include the design and management of LEED projects, green roof design and consultation, site planning projects which require Low Impact Development strategies and incorporation stakeholder and/or community involvement in the design process.

Expertise and past project settings include site improvements and phased planning efforts for institutional, campus, and commercial settings which include plaza, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, streetscape, planting, and playground design. Additionally, OJ-LA has designed artful and intimate spaces for residential, hotel, and resort settings. Attention to how the space will be used and cared for is important research and typically includes stakeholder design charrettes to achieve the full purpose of each space created.

Oona develops guidelines for stormwater, graywater, and rainwater catchment systems in California. She is proficient in native and adapted plants, using this knowledge in ethnobotanical applications, designing for habitat, re-vegetation and restoration efforts due to construction impacts, as well as creating beautiful spaces for people to enjoy.

She enjoys collaborating with design teams, clients and user groups to attain design goals. Achievements result in holistic designs which remain attractive with minimal maintenance requirements while upholding a unique sense of place.


  • Registered/Licensed Landscape Architect (RLA): CA #5726
  • Member, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
  • Accredited Professional, American Rainwater Catchment System Association (ARCSA)
  • LEED Accredited Professional, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)


Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture,
University of Washington, Seattle


  • Fulbright Scholarship, 2004 - 2005
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, ASLA, Maple Valley Library
  • Merit Award, Washington State ASLA, Swedish Hospital Rooftop Garden Design
  • Merit Award, Washington State ASLA, Research Paper: The Restoration of a Forest Ecosystem to Recreate Second Growth with Old-Growth Characteristics and Aesthetic Qualities
  • Faculty Award, UW Landscape Architec ture Department
Works Cited
  • Contemporary Slovenian Timber Architecture for Sustainability, Kuzman, Manja & Kutnar, Andreja: Springer International Publishing, 2014: 133-134
  • Landscape Architecture Magazine, County Seat, Hinshaw, Mark, January 2007: 44-51
  • Landscape Architecture Magazine, Governing Green, Calkins, Meg, February 2002: 34
  • Landscape Architecture Magazine, Reading the Wilderness, Enlow, Clair, January 2003: 42
  • Civic Builders, Fentress, Curtis W, England: Wiley-Academy, 2002: 196- 205.
  • Landscape Architecture Magazine, Fountains: Some Guidelines, MacElroy W., Winterbottom D., June 2001: 44
  • United States Green Building Council, Northern California, Monterey Bay Chapter:
    • Green Schools Advocacy Committee Task Leader, 2011 - 2013
    • Steering Committee Member, 2007 - 2012
    • Member, California Policy Advocacy Committee, 2007 - 2011
  • Member, Monterey County Graywater Working Group, 2009 - 2013
  • Member, American Society of Landscape Architects
  • Member, American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
  • Member, Native Plant Society
  • Monterey Bay Friendly Landscapes: Rater for certification of sustainable landscapes
Speaking Events
  • Residential Rain Gardens, Learn how to build rain gardens and why they are beneficial to Pacific Grove. Community Lecture for Pacific Grove, April 22, 2015
  • Hartnell College, Introduction to Stainability 101, Guest lecterer, What is Landscape Architecture, LEED, & Low Impact Development, September 29, 2014, professor Jordan Daniels.
  • AIA Monterey Bay monthly program lecture: LID! A Re-Introduction to Low Impact Development, Local Examples, and Local Rebate Programs, September 25, 2014, 5:30-7:30.
  • The Neal and Larry Show 101.1 FM Radio: Dedicated to the promotion of Self Sufficiency in Architecture, Community, and the Individual; September 6, Saturday 1:00pm; Oona Johnsen, a registered landscape Architect in California, will be joining us to discuss the universe of landscaping, with particular emphasis on water, and how it all relates to Self-Sufficiency in a changing world of drought and dwindling resources. Join us to learn new ways to collect, store and utilize the water resources on your personal piece of land.
  • Moving Stormwater Through Paving, Pervious Pavements for Residential Applications, Learn how pervious pavement systems work, why they are important, including examples of various designs, products, and construction techniques. Community Lecture for Pacific Grove, June 27, 2014
  • Sustainable Business Practices, Save Money and Increase Exposure, Co-Speaker with Gabby Carbajal, Monterey Health Department and Abbie Beane, The Offset Project; Sustainable Pacific Grove, June 11, 2014
  • Monterey Peninsula Water Management District: Rainwater Harvesting Workshop, Co-Speaker with Jon Ramsey, Aqua Soleil, May 10, 2014, Monterey
  • Raindrop in a Watershed: Cleaning Monterey Bay One Watershed at a Time, Learn about sustainable stormwater management practices and the upcoming RainScapes rebate program for homeowners and businesses, Community Lecture for Pacific Grove, March 2014
  • Low Impact Development & Green Infrastructure, Co-Speaker with Doug Dowden, MRSWMP Program Manager ,Sustainable Pacific Grove, September 2013
  • University of California Santa Cruz, Panelist for the class titled: Green Building, Topic: Green Building Professionals, Professor: Karsten Mueller, Ph.D., April 2012
  • A Child’s Introduction to Native Plants, Bayview Elementary School, Monterey Penninsula Unified School District, Monterey, CA, May 2011. Topic: An interactive discussion with two Kindergarten classes about native plants including hands on approach to learning about particular native plants by touch, smell, and dissection as well as their association with butterfly larvae, bees, and hummingbirds.
  • Dune & Shoreline Ecology, United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Faculty Retreat, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, August 14 and 15, 2010 Topic (day 1): A guided walk to USGBC Faculty explaining the surrounding dune and shore- line ecology; explanation of historical context, local weather conditions, sand dune formation, restoration techniques, native plant communities, and local habitat, as well as explaining issues of dune habitat fragmentation and the threats of invasive plant species coupled with current development trends. Topic (day 2): A guided walk to USGBC Faculty with a more detailed look at the surrounding dune and shoreline ecology; explanations the symbiotic relationships of certain plants, how particular plant and animal species have adapted to the dune and shoreline environment, as well as discussing problems and constraints to site and landscape design and restoration efforts in the LEED rating system.
  • A Child’s Introduction to Native Plants, Creative Children’s Learning Center Daycare, (Part of the Knowledge Learning Corporation and Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children), Monterey Presidio, CA August 3, 2010 Topic: An interactive discussion to 4 year olds about what native plants are including hands on approach to learning about particular native plants by touch, smell, and dissection.
  • Bees: Fact, Fiction, and Pollination, Rana Creek Nursery, Carmel Valley, CA August 7, 2010 Topic: Discussion and display of California native plant species that support pollinators such as bees and how to integrate these plants into home gardens. Co-presenter, Doug Westpal, hobby beekeeper.
  • LEED / Green Building, American Public Works Association Monterey Bay Chapter Summer Training Conference, Salinas Community Center, Salinas, CA July 22, 2009 Topic: Discussion of new LEED version 3.0 system and how it applies to public works and how it is changing traditional design and construction practices. This topic was focused by addressing parking lot design options.
Community Service
  • Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange #503: Volunteer work creating a rain garden from a cistern overflow. In association with ARCSA Workshop Event. March 9, 2014.
  • Pacific Grove High School: Pool landscape volunteer planting and construction coordination March-April, 2014
  • Robert H. Down Elementary School: Lunch area and playground fund raising and construction coordination 2013 - Present. Designated in 2014 as the California Distinguished School.
  • Robert H. Down Elementary School Site Council (Pacific Grove Unified School District), Member 2011 - 2014. Designated in 2014 as the California Distinguished School.
  • Center for Schools - U.S. Green Building Council, Green Apple Day of Service, Student Energy/Water Audit for Science Building, York School, Monterey, CA, September 29, 2012 - Coordination of event where York high school students and students from local community colleges, as well as volunteers conduct energy and water audits assisted by local MEP engineers. Information gained will be analyzed to find out the potential for pursuing LEED EB O&M for the Science Building.
  • Event coordination for USGBC- NCC Monterey Bay Branch monthly meeting, The Sustainable Sites Initiative (2 GBCI CE hrs), speaker: Allegra Bukojemski, Landscape Architect at Wildlands, Monterey, CA, September 5, 2012
  • Can-Struction Food Sculpture, American Institute of Architects, Monterey Bay, Monterey Bay Green Building Expo, Monterey, CA, November 2011
  • Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District CommunityALIVE! volunteer program: dune restoration work (weed abatement and dune restoration planting) at Roberts Lake, Seaside, CA and Marina Dunes Preserve, Marina, CA, 2008 - Present
  • Pacific Grove Dunes, Pacific Grove, CA: Weed abatement and seed harvesting, 2010 - 2011
  • Green Lake Park, Seattle, WA: Aquatic and shoreline weed abatement, replanting efforts, and community education, 2000-2002
  • Cedar Rock Preserve, Show Island, WA: Weed abatement, 2000