Landscape Architect


Professionally speaking, it could be said that Tom Selinger has been around the block.

Graduating with a degree in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State in 1976, he feels humbled and amazed he’s enjoyed a fufilling professional experience…so far.

With stops along the way at several local Landscape Architecture and Contracting firms (including years at the downtown office of the largest architecture firm in the world), he’s been involved in extreme project diversity. Tom served as the Director of Design with almost all of those firms. “I really enjoyed my design manager roles, but since coming to JMA I’ve been able to return to and focus on the original reason I chose to become a Landscape Architect …Garden Design.”

Tom’s approach was once the common occurrence in the industry…he still is devoted to hand-drawing his projects. “Design is essentially problem solving, and I’ll use my artistic eye as I look over the puzzles. I consider myself lucky to have found a firm that encourages me to still develop hand drawn gardens in an industry era where the computer has all but absorbed the art form.” People have said that Tom possesses unique and powerful award-winning design talent, and he’s convinced it’s his artistic outlook that provides that impression and separates his projects from others. “I’m extremely fortunate to still be able to use simple tools and basic ability to bring paper to life as a garden. And I’m more fresh and prepared than ever to shape and sculpt an outdoor space until it naturalizes with its intended use and context.” As a way to help encourage others, Tom has also spent over 20 years teaching Garden Graphics at the Morton Arboretum, the University of Illinois, the Illinois Landscape Contractor Association, and most recently a long run at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Tom lives with his wife Jill (an avid gardener and also Educational Director at the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden) and their daughter Katie. He enjoys all types of art forms, from viewing Impressionist paintings to taking architectural tours to taking drawing classes to studying comic books. “There are lessons everywhere in strong, memorable design. You just have to keep your eyes open and then be able to put your own twist on it.”