Io | Design | Collaborative

Urban Design + Landscape Architecture

  • Fitts Park


    Io’s master plan for Fitts Park focuses on stream bank restoration for Millcreek and two smaller tributary canals that flow through the site; as well as trail development within the park and connection to the broader Mill Creek Trail system. The plan was the result of a coordinated effort with the City of South Salt Lake, and included extensive public input. The design also calls for an expansion of playground and recreation spaces, including a sand and nature-play area adjacent to a small creek, and treehouse and rope bridge across the water.

    Fitts Park
  • Community Tapestry

    This central space features a railroad roundhouse inspired pergola, the articulation is inspired by the mid-century formalism of the adjacent library building.

    Io’s winning entry in the reVIVE design competition, weaves a dynamic narrative of history, culture, and ecology. Inspired by a historic diagram of the Ogden rail yard, the design creates a sinuous circulation network connecting varied programmatic elements while maintaining large swaths of green-space. Introduced topography creates a sense of spatial progression, and adds more functionality (play, sledding, and viewing). The bold use of color celebrates Ogden’s cultural diversity, outdoor recreation industry, and arts community. Details like the use of railroad ties as seating, and roundhouse inspired pergola recall the city’s railroad past. Fluid bands of native plant communities complement the existing urban forest adding ecological functionality, a distinct sense of place, and important culture-nature connections.

    The competition was hosted by the American Institute of Architects, Utah Chapter in conjunction with the Young Architect’s Forum.  Community partners included Ogden City, the Weber County Library, and the Ogden Rotary Club.

    Juror accolades included:

    “Their organic design utilizing space in free-flowing zones shows a respect of the block’s occupants as does the wonderfully structured seating area. I was impressed with their concern for the environment and showed that throughout their design.”

    -Hikmet Loe

    “Robust is one word that describes this proposal. From plantings that would expand habitat for birds and provide a visually rich and varied landscape, and a host of activities that promote health, relaxation, challenges and sensitive attention to the seniors living and socializing in and near the park brought this proposal to the front of the line. With references to the railroads that underpin much of Ogden’s story, energetic murals that reflect values, culture and aspirations, it was clear that the designer’s listened intently to the criteria and community interests. Library events can easily spill into the park, and painterly approach to the overall landscape creates invites people to explore and immerse themselves in a visually rich environment which, by itself, becomes subtle and powerful activity.”

    -Stephen A. Goldsmith

    This central space features a railroad roundhouse inspired pergola, the articulation is inspired by the mid-century formalism of the adjacent library building.
    Community Tapestry
  • Healy House


    The Healy Home is located in the Eccles Historic District in Ogden, Utah. Originally built in 1920 by Patrick Healy, Jr., this English Country Manor is one of the most unique historic buildings anywhere in Ogden. Io worked with the current owner to create a period appropriate landscape design for the home that was also representative of the owner’s unique design sensibilities. Some other design criteria included that the design be water efficient and pollinator friendly.

    The Master Plan for the garden creates a series of outdoor rooms beginning with the front-yard. Here, a stacked stone retaining wall capitalizes on the grade of the site to create a crisp edge complete with boxwood hedge around the cottage garden. Stone steps and brick walkways compliment the English-country feel of the garden while organic bands of lavender and yellow perennials (our modern interpretation of a French parterre garden) complete the colorful and romantic setting.

    The side yard is designed by a custom ornamental iron fence, designed by Io, in an arts & crafts lotus pattern. An arched gate cheerfully entices visitors to follow the thyme and moss filled stepping stone pathway through the side yard. Here, a native scrub-oak forest envelops the south-side of the home while offering a period-appropriate buffer to the noise of the adjacent busy street.

    The rear-yard is dominated by two ancient Austrian Pines whose dense shade and constant needle litter made planting a challenge. Here, we created an intimate courtyard space featuring brick patio looking onto a beautiful art-deco bronze fountain. A shade garden, including Japanese forest grasses, kinninnick, and ajuga, creates a serene pallete.

    Future phases of the design include a larger entertainment patio and pergola and an expansive kitchen garden and English-style greenhouse.

    Healy House


    The Argyle in Downtown Salt Lake City, is a 1960’s era apartment complex that recently underwent a complete renovation.  The owners were seeking to capture a hip, young urban audience, while capitalizing on the vintage flare of the existing building.  Io worked to create an authentic mid-century modern pool area.  Io designed the butterfly-roof cabanas, and marble-clad outdoor fireplace, along with the Vegas-inspired sputnik starburst that is visible from outside of the pool courtyard.  We completed construction documents, and design details for the construction of the cabana buildings, pool fence, hardscape paving and planter walls, as well as the landscape and irrigation.  We also worked closely with the contractor and pool builder on the design of the pool and hot tub areas.



    Io was retained by Ogden City to help plan for and design an urban connector between Ogden’s Historic 25th Street and The Junction. Even though these districts are just one block apart, there was little visual or physical connections between them to encourage visitors (specifically pedestrians) to flow from one space into the other. The Kiesel Avenue streetscape was an opportunity to connect these two vibrant districts by creating an arts corridor, sub-district applying tactical urban design principles, and pedestrian friendly strategies.

    Our design for the Kiesel Avenue Streetscape included raising the grade of the road to create the feel of one long linear plaza space flanked by a highly visible raised crosswalk on the 25th street intersection. This allows the pedestrian and vehicular traffic surfaces to visually flow together into one long plaza space with the physical traffic separation provided by recessed planter beds interspersed throughout the design.

    Other design elements included lighted bollards, pedestrian seating and paver walkway surfaces. The entire east side of the street is occupied by a parking garage which was especially challenging because it does not offer an active use to populate the street. Instead, we proposed to turn it into an art feature by cladding the structure with perforated metal screens with a pixelated image of the Mount Ogden skyline (a view that one would have originally had from the site pre-development).




    As part of the greater Kiesel Avenue Streetscape Proposal, the design for Neon Plaza was intended to provide outdoor common space for the tenants of the adjacent historic Kiesel and Hurst buildings, presently planned for renovation. The plaza would also offer an intriguing destination between Historic 25th Street and the Junction. The site was formerly home to the historic Alhambra Theatre, a fact that informed much of the design. Neon Plaza will function as a dynamic public space and host to various art installations including digital media. The diamond paving pattern was taken directly from the former Alhambra façade, informing the shape and placement of two large polycarbonate ‘benches’. These translucent boxes will provide for informal plaza seating during the day and can be projected from the inside with lights or digital media (a nod to this historic movie theatre). The benches also feature a combination fire pit and water feature. In-ground LED lighting connects the diamond pattern between the boxes. Raised corten steel planter beds accentuate the design, creating grassy pockets where visitors to the site can find shady refuge. The main plaza space is open, filled with gray concrete pavers that when viewed from above form the pixelated image of Charlie Chaplin (the star of the first movie ever shown at the Alhambra Theater. An impressive recycled timber arch demarcates the entrance to the plaza (made from barrel vaulted trusses taken from the demolition of the back portion of the adjacent Hurst building). Meanwhile, a historic neon sign that was saved from the demolition of a local market, will be recycled to flash “make” and “art” and will draw visitors down the street. The plaza also features moveable seating in the form of recycled railroad rails topped with sliding skate-decks, another opportunity for art.




    Io Design Collaborative worked with The Nature Conservancy to oversee the design and installation of hiking trails, wayfinding, and educational signage at the newly formed White Dome Nature Preserve in St. George, Utah. The 660-acre preserve is habitat for the endangered Dwarf Bear Poppy and the threatened Siler Pincushion Cactus.




    Io’s Master Plan for the adaptive re-use of the Ogden Union Stockyards, transformed this once bustling industrial, turned vacant brownfield site, into a modern hub for outdoor recreation manufacturing.  In addition to documenting the site’s expansive livestock pens, loading chutes, art-deco watering troughs, and patterned concrete; Io created a development plan that worked to preserve and highlight some of the most unique elements of the site (including a series of concrete loading ramps pictured above).  This included capitalizing on the site’s adjacency to the Weber River parkway., by turning the development inside out, creating an open space loop and pedestrian/bike promenade overlooking the river that all of the new industrial buildings will face out onto.   The planned network of open space includes a bike path and trail system, stream-bank restoration, preservation and interpretation of historic elements, and a network of bioswales with native vegetation.

    Ogden Business Exchange

    Ogden Business Exchange

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Firm Philosophy

Rooted in landscape
we weave culture, nature, place
design is our seed...
Innovative + Organic

Io Design Collaborative is a professional consulting firm specializing in Landscape Architecture, Planning, Urban Design and Historic Preservation. Our work is focused on the continuation of regional narrative; weaving history, ecology, culture and meaning together for projects that evolve from, and advance, the spirit of the intermountain west.

The name Io has its roots in Greek mythology, and is representative of both agriculture and femininity. For us it also means innovative-organic; our simultaneous integration of place-based biophilic design and innovative approach to planning processes differentiates our practice.


    We seek to ask the right questions first, working closely with stakeholders to understand their needs.


    Our designs work with the nature, providing ecological services and important human-nature interaction.

  • Place

    We create places for people. Vibrant spaces where meaning evolves through experience.

Our focus

Organic | Urban | Historic | Residential

Bioregional design with nature including green and open spaces, trails, parks, planting and restoration projects.


Designing for vibrant mixed-use downtowns and urban centers, including development planning, plazas, and streetscapes.


Celebrating our shared past through research, documentation, preservation, adaptive re-use, and historically sensitive design.


We create uniquely creative and ecologically sensitive spaces that celebrate life outdoors in the intermountain west!

Our Team

Io uses a team approach, inviting talented individuals and smaller niche firms to participate on collaborative projects. Io acts as a design broker, seeking cutting-edge projects that require unique solutions, and pairing them with the right professional talent – both in-house staff and sub consultants - to meet project needs.
Shalae A. Larsen, ASLA
Shalae A. Larsen, ASLA
Principal Landscape Architect
Shalae’s unique design perspective integrates a deep appreciation for indigenous landscapes and an understanding of the vernacular of the intermountain west. This sensitivity for contextually is a result of years of practice in Landscape Architecture and a Masters Degree in Architecture.
Greg Tarsa
Greg Tarsa
Project Manager
Io’s lead designer and project manager, Greg’s strong background in natural systems and horticulture allows him to design sustainable and sensitive landscapes that respond to environmental issues and social demands on natural resources.
Jake McIntire
Jake McIntire
Artist | Collaborator
Jake is a designer, entrepreneur, strategist, and creative problem solver working at the intersections of business, art, design, and urban theory. Jake is the founder of Union Creative Agency. He holds an MFA in Collaborative Design with an emphasis in Social Entrepreneurship and Urban Theory from the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Kristen Clifford
Kristen Clifford
Planer | Collaborator
Kristen is a professional planning consultant who’s expertise includes working as a municipal planner to preserve community character and the environment while facilitating the rapid growth and redevelopment of communities. Now she is working to create places for people to value and respect their surroundings and their community.



Revitalizing communities and making places one project at a time