Wheat & Associates, a landscape architecture firm, was founded in 1982 in Tucson, Arizona. In the early 1990s, it became Wheat Gallaher Associates and then Wheat Scharf Associates. In May 2014, Wheat Scharf Associates merged with LJ Design & Consulting, another local landscape architecture firm, to become Wheat Design Group.
Elizabeth “Liba” Wheat, Founder of Wheat & Associates, is a fourth generation Arizonan with a long history of horticulture, design, and landscape architecture. Her rich and varied career, evident by an extensive list of significant works throughout the Southwest have produced lasting impacts on the community, academic programs, regulatory policy, the urban form, arid land issues, and the profession. Liba has been influential in transforming public spaces throughout Southern Arizona: roads, streetscapes, parks, plazas, and the University of Arizona campus. Nationally, she helped develop guidelines for highway construction on federal lands, environmental protection, and design criteria. As a practitioner in an arid environment, she has won numerous awards for water conservation efforts. Her works reflect extensive scope, richness, diversity, and quality.
Liba has influenced the profession and community, participating in a number of demonstration projects to change the approach to roadway design and construction. She was at the ground floor of Tucson’s recognition that the roadway network is the fabric of the community; that it not only links businesses and neighborhoods but makes a lasting impression on how the community views itself. As a result of her efforts, roadway designs began to incorporate visual enhancements as an integral component of the design. She advocated that roadway aesthetics stretch beyond the mere planting of median islands, to encompass the roadside and pedestrian areas as well. Liba’s body of work provides ample evidence of her influence on transportation infrastructure, a positive influence that will remain for decades to come.