Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Letora F Anderson


The swimming hole landscape provides a unique, immersive interface between humans and the natural world within a riparian corridor. Distinct characteristics of local watersheds and regional ecological systems result in an expression of the natural environment specific to each Texas swimming hole. These environmental components, along with human culture and settlement patterns, are all interrelated, underscoring the importance of health and harmony within and between each one. Overuse, urban expansion, watershed management, and climatic factors have negatively impacted the environmental quality and user experience of these landscapes. The purpose of this study is to better understand the cultural and environmental significance of Texas’s natural swimming holes and to determine how the field of landscape architecture may preserve the function and spirit of these places through best practices in place-specific, resilient design and recommendations for mindful management. Qualitative methodology included literature review/case studies, user surveys, expert interviews, and observational data collection. User survey participants were solicited through online opportunities and must have previously visited a natural swimming hole in Texas. Five participants were selected for expert interviews from the fields of geotechnical engineering, landscape architecture, higher education/research, regional research/policymaking, and city parks/recreational management. Observational data collection included multiple visits to two case study sites and one design/study site. All data collected was classified into a matrix and further analyzed and synthesized, resulting in nine design and management guidelines. These guidelines reinforced regional context and values, inclusive programming and storytelling accessibility, enhancement and restoration of riparian ecological systems, and overall watershed health as important design considerations for the Texas swimming hole landscape. Recommendations for public education at local, regional, and state decisionmaker levels were also deduced. Finally, the resulting guidelines were applied to a site-specific design proposal for the design/study site in Glen Rose, Texas.


Landscape architecture, Culture, Environment, Ecology(Tex.) swimming holes, Riparian corridor, Recreation, Watershed management, Reciprocity, Historical significance, Modern use, Landscape diversity, Storytelling, Native plant communities, Cultural significance, Green infrastructure, Active/passive usage, User education, Decision maker-community collaboration


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington