At Ground Studio, we envision and craft contextual California landscapes, thoughtfully balancing the character of the land, the identity of the architecture, and the lifestyles of people who live there.  

Designing in a range of scales from compact urban gardens to expansive rural sites, we listen and observe to ensure the spirit of the place is revealed. Our designs inspire a deep connection with the land.

At the core of Ground Studio’s designs is the exploration of each project’s unique narrative. Our path of design discovery is deeply rooted in existing site patterns that inform contextual, livable landscapes that connect people with nature.

Building on twenty-five years of internationally recognized landscape design, Bernard, along with Partners David and Ben, lead an accomplished team with offices in Monterey, Napa, and Santa Barbara. The three overseeing partners are working closely with each other and with Studio Directors in each office to thoughtfully assemble project teams that best meet the needs of each project’s specific opportunities.

We are deeply collaborative inside and outside the studio, accountable to do whatever it takes in every situation, and consistently striving to exceed expectations. These core values speak to our desire to listen well, reveal the essence of a site, and connect people to the land. We are truly grateful to help steward some of the most beautiful and complex sites in California.

In each project we begin by listening, observing, and exploring the connections between human, built, and natural systems. Within these complex relationships, we practice an ecological approach to design that encourages regeneration of the land and connection to the people who inhabit it. Revealing inherent value in the site and creating connection through a contextual materiality, we blur the distinction between architecture and landscape, heightening this interplay of structure and nature.

Existing site patterns are a repository of meaning; there are clues within this complexity both in presence and purpose. By celebrating and building upon the patterns of each place, rather than manipulating them, a true sense of belonging in the landscape is revealed. To express our ideas with clarity we develop a narrative flow to help tell the story of these patterns, beginning with images, sketches, and diagrams to illustrate functional relationships and important connections. 

Communicating our intent from concept to construction documentation is critical, so that the design vision is carried out in every way, from large scale gestures to details experienced in everyday living.  


Bernard Trainor
Bernard Trainor

Founding Partner

David Leroy


Ben Langford

Partner, PLA, ASLA

Chris Merritt

Senior Designer / Studio Director – Santa Barbara

Johnson Bullard

Senior Designer / Studio Director – Monterey

Braden Patterson

Senior Designer, ASLA

Rich Robinson

Field Operations

Max Stuber

Project Manager

Sam Stuber

Project Manager

Elaine Shaw

Project Manager

Darren Andre

Project Manager

Nathan Torres


Larissa Kurtz

Design Staff

Kyle Lambdin

Design Staff

Melissa Block

Design Staff

Shaine Meulmester

Design Staff

Inki Hong

Design Staff

Conner Karakul

Design Staff

Gabby Espinoza

Design Staff

Rebecca George

Design Staff

Sophia Gregorio

Design Staff

Michelle Pipitone

Accounting / Office Manager

Jen Bryant

Assistant Office Manager

Roxanne Thomas

Administrative Assistant