Cougar-owned landscape architecture and design firm Land Expressions in Spokane won a top national award in December for work on Spokane’s Huntington Park and the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place.

This project won over much larger design build projects from all over the country. The Grand Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) “is the biggest award we can receive in our industry,” says Dave Nelson ’83, president and owner of the company.

Dave Nelson '83
Dave Nelson ’83


The Land Expressions team—which includes senior landscape architect Clayton Varick ’00 and landscape architects Nicholas Hamad ’10 and Fernando Camargo ’10—had a very good year in 2015.

They won the Merit Award for Pyrotek Headquarters in downtown Spokane, also from the NALP. They received three local awards: the Spokane Mayor’s Award for urban design for Spokane’s Tribal Gathering Place, and “Best of” awards from both Spokane CdA Living magazine and Inland Business Catalyst Magazine.

Early in the year Land Expressions won the commission to design and build a new Veterans Memorial, “Illuminating Courage,” which was publicly dedicated this past Veterans Day.

Opened by Nelson in 1987, Land Expressions designs and builds outdoor living and entertainment spaces for homeowners, commercial building owners, developers, and for public spaces like parks.

Nelson has worked in the industry for over 30 years throughout the United States and Japan. Outside of his landscape work, Nelson loves to play basketball, and has played in Spokane’s Hoopfest since its first year in 1989.