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Scott Parker Brings Passion to Enriching & Preserving Kiawah River’s Environment

Nestled among the sparkling marsh flats and sprawling live oak trees of the South Carolina Lowcountry is Kiawah River, an agrihood located just outside of Charleston, S.C.  With 20 miles of shoreline and 1,000 acres of open green space, Kiawah River’s natural landscape is a sought-after rural retreat. 

We recently sat down with Scott Parker, the landscape architect responsible for designing and nurturing Kiawah River’s diverse landscape, to learn all about what drives his vision for the community’s natural elements. From Kiawah River’s delicate marsh ecosystems to its natural and cultural landscapes, Scott has integrated a plan that pays homage to Kiawah River’s agricultural heritage while preserving the land for generations to come.  

Since Kiawah River’s inception, Scott has been an integral part of bringing the Lowcountry region’s first agrihood to life and helping to preserve the land’s agricultural heritage. In 1994, Scott cofounded DesignWorks, a landscape architecture and urban design and planning firm in Charleston. He began working with Kiawah River in 2008 and after studying the land’s patterns and agricultural past, his vision for the master-planned community was born. Scott and his team prioritized weaving Kiawah River’s values and character into each aspect of the landscape, crafting a natural environment that reflects the community’s cultural environment.  

Scott believes that everything you can see and feel is part of the landscape, which is why he utilizes native materials that can thrive without outside assistance and maintenance. For example, Kiawah River’s entrance is thoughtfully lined with meadows and flower fields consistent with the property’s agricultural heritage, as opposed to turf grass. By incorporating open meadows and fields of native flowers, the land requires minimal maintenance and avoids irrigation systems, which can be harmful to the environment.   

The Kiawah River landscape is designed to create and enable rituals that contribute to life at Kiawah River. One of Scott’s favorite aspects of Kiawah River’s landscape is Jack Island Pond, which was strategically built to encourage residents to regularly walk the paths around the pond. Along the water’s edge, perennials were planted to provide year-round aesthetics and the surrounding oak trees – which were preserved and transplanted from other locations within the community – will provide shade for generations to come. In addition, the property’s marsh edges are maintained for walking and biking along the nearby trails and the waterfront provides the perfect place to enjoy a Lowcountry sunset.  

With a passion for the land and sustainable designs that support Kiawah River’s unique agrihood, Scott is looking forward to continuing to reveal and enhance the natural landscape while improving the lives of its residents and helping to support its delicate ecosystem.