Shane McCandless was born and raised in Spokane Washington. His passion for nature’s intrinsic beauty began when he was six years old while helping his father at his dad’s cabin on Mt. Spokane. It was here that Shane spent countless weekends felling trees for firewood, pulling weeds in the garden, raking leaves for the compost pile, and shoveling snow in the winter. Shane’s appreciation for the outdoor built environment was developed over many summer breaks and weekends while helping his father on his dad’s weekly landscape maintenance route. It is here that by ten years old Shane’s ever-developing landscape knowledge, skills and abilities quickly turned into his own neighborhood landscape maintenance business.
After a 4-year tour in the US Army and 6 months on the front line in Operation Desert Shield & Desert Storm, Shane returned to Spokane and enrolled at the community college. To help put himself through school, he started a landscape company similar in structure to that of Trinity Landscaping LLC. After completing nearly twelve years of academic studies, Shane received a total of four landscape science degrees including a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture and was awarded a Master of Science degree in Landscape Architecture for his thesis, “Classifying High, Medium, and Low Maintenance Landscapes”.
After graduating from Washington State University in 2006, Shane relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada where he spent the next decade studying xeriscaping and working to develop his low-maintenance desert landscape design skills. This would include building beautiful, sustainable, landscapes with water smart native and desert-adapted plants. During his time in Las Vegas, he worked on high-end projects such as The Las Vegas Convention Center, Caesar’s West Convention & Pool, The Las Vegas Strip “10 Year Land Use Plan”, Blue Green Timeshare Resorts, Lexus of Henderson NV, Porsche of Henderson NV, and numerous very high-end residential projects.
With over 16 years of professional landscape experience designing, building, and managing beautiful southwestern desert landscapes, he is an expert in the southwest plant palette. When Shane’s knowledge of the earth sciences is coupled with principles of low maintenance landscaping and concepts of sustainability, the landscape project end-results are beautiful, water-smart, outdoor living spaces that require less maintenance and are more cost effective over time.
During Shane’s 30-year professional landscape career he has served in many landscape roles including: Irrigation Instructor, Landscape Architect in Training, Landscape Designer/ Estimator/ Sales, Landscape Maintenance Manager, Landscape Construction Manager and Landscape General Manager. He has hands-on design, build, manage experience on numerous projects of varying scope and type including High-End Residential, Multi-Family Residential, Retail and Commercial Developers, Commercial Management Companies, HOA Communities, Industrial, Institutional, and Interior Plantscapes.
Shane’s Thoughts on the Softscape (Plants)
Softscape is defined as the live horticultural elements that create a unique landscape area and are critical in producing various sensory experiences. Softscape elements include seasonal flowers, seasonal garden plants, cycads, succulents, cacti, shrubs, palms, and trees. All of which, require routine management duties such as turf grass mowing, aerating, fertilizing and pest management. Planting beds and open spaces need spray treatment practices that include pest management. Flowers, shrubs, cycads, palms, and trees need trimming at specific times of the year. Irrigation systems need to be reprogrammed every three months to ensure that each plant gets a specific and required amount of water.
Shane knows that the softscape can make or break any finished landscape design project. He believes that the softscape is more than just selecting and placing plants. He understands that you cannot see most of the environment’s external affects that have an internal effect on the plant throughout its lifecycle. It is critical that the specific needs of our diverse desert plant palette are met. Proper softscape management will ensure that plants are healthy, vigorous, and able to thrive within the desert extremes.
Through Shane’s scientific understanding of the natural environment, his softscape standards of success goals are to produce aesthetically beautiful, environmentally friendly, sustainable softscapes- that have plant characteristics that require less maintenance and more financially feasible to manage over time. Shane’s philosophy regarding softscapes is fundamental and is derived from the first rule of landscaping, ”Right Plant, Right Place”.
Shane’s Thoughts on the Hardscape
Hardscapes are any man-made features used in landscape architecture or design. Pools, spas, patios, fire pits, pergolas, pathways, irrigation systems, lighting systems, and granite are some examples of hardscape elements. Hardscaping elements are the framework from which the rest of your landscape will be constructed, and work to provide form, structure, and function for any outdoor living space. Juxtaposing these hardscape elements have a direct, positive effect on the overall function of your hardscape, and on how people react to the entire landscape.
Just as the softscape can make or break a development, Shane believes that the hardscape can have the same effect. His hardscape standards of success goals are based upon how the visual qualities of shape and form influence the site’s balance and directly impacts the landscape element’s ability to successfully integrate within the intended site function and overall ability to influence the client to become immersed within the outdoor living space.
Through scientific understanding of how the natural environment can accommodate various hardscape elements; and how these elements can be situated across your site; Shane’s goal is to produce sustainable, locally sourced, beautiful hardscapes, that require low levels of management, and have a reduced carbon footprint, all while seamlessly supporting the softscape to create harmony, rhythm, and rhyme across the entire site.