Libbytown Residents Eager for New Playground


“It really is about creating and sustaining community.” 

Pamela Murton

I'm not sure there's anything more rewarding, as a designer, than to be able to contribute creatively to the improvement of ones own neighborhood. 

The City of Portland (Maine) developed a master plan for Libbytown's Dougherty Park nearly 10 years ago. Since then, the city has phased in improvements including a quarter-million dollar skatepark which often accounts for the majority of park patronage. The park has, however, long-since lacked a proper playground.

Now, as Libbytown residents ourselves, we had an opportunity to assist our neighborhood association with a CDBG Grant application. Our neighbors banded together to draft our proposal requesting more than $150,000 for the playground. 

Our concepts and drawings helped convey a vision, not just for a playground, but a social gathering space for children, adults, neighbors, and friends. 

Through the process, I learned that playgrounds are truly much more than simply swings, and monkey bars. They are meeting places, a crucial underpinning to the community fabric.

I grew up in Portland and have wanted to contribute my skills here and help Portland grow in a good direction. I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than help a great neighborhood like Libbytown realize their vision.
— Nick Aceto

Aceto Contributes Vision for Downtown Basalt

We need to embrace density,” Schendler wrote. “Build infill housing in the urban core, or at least within urban growth boundaries, along transit routes. Make it dense, which means small units that go up instead of out. Change codes to allow for smaller houses, which are more affordable and enable mother-in-law units with occupation requirements.
— Auden Schendler, VP of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company
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The fate of a 5.9 acre parcel along the Roaring Fork River in the heart of historic Downtown Basalt might just be the epicenter for the debate around workforce housing, density, and open space.

ALA to Team on Scarborough Downs Master Plan

Scarborough Downs has been a southern Maine and New England landmark for more than 50 years offering harness racing, events, and other entertainment with name recognition extending far beyond the equine industry. 

The 500-acre property resides in the heart of the town of Scarborough, Maine at a crossroads between major roadways, adjacent land uses, ecosystems, and cultures.

ALA is proud to be a part of the design and planning team and looks forward to delivering a thoughtful, creative vision for our client and the local community.

Read more about the Scarborough Downs property here:

Press Releases here:

Portland Press Herald:


As lifelong residents and business owners we believe Scarborough is the best town in Maine. We were raised here. We raised our kids here and we hope that our grandkids will be raised here too. We care about our town’s future and it would be a privilege for us to develop this land.
— Rocco Risbara III

ALA Concept Selected for Cumberland Multi-Generational Housing Master Plan

ALA teamed with client Developers Collaborative and Risbara to develop concepts for a Multi-Generational Community in Cumberland, Maine in response to an RFQ published by the town. Along with St Clair Associates (civil engineering and surveying), and Archetype (architecture), ALA developed schemes that focused on walkability and community engagement while meeting both our clients pro-forma and town's requested program.

Our team was selected from one of two finalist development teams.

ALA is proud to work with our clients and communities in which we work to offer creative solutions to housing demands with a triple bottom line basis.


Adventures in the World of SIM

Over the past two to three years, ALA has slowly, but meticulously delved into the world of BIM, and more accurately, SIM technology. 

Working on highly complex and constrained sites with rigorous parameters set forth by local reviewing agencies and jurisdictions, we have developed workflows and techniques for modeling, analyzing, and communicating existing and proposed site conditions. |

In particular, working in Colorado often times entails working on steep sites with lots of existing vegetation and natural opportunities and constraints. From expansive clay soils, to challenging drainage, and often scrupulous reviewing agencies and committees, it has become necessary for us to not only provide good design for our clients, but also quantify the value added and evidence for good design solutions. 

Lastly, we often work with consultants such as architects and civil engineers. We have found that the best methods for collaboration should include 3D integration of modeled sites and design elements that can easily be transformed to line drawing format for documentation.

Last fall we began a site plan for a private residence in Snowmass Village, Colorado. The existing site sloped steeply an evenly from south to north with broad views of Elk Range to the north and west and ski access from the west and south. 

Following client approval, ALA generated final models for collaboration and sharing between consultants. Grading plans and models were shared with both the architect and civil engineer to ensure accuracy and code compliance.

Final plans were documentated in 2D and 3D for building permit and design review committee approval.

ALA analyzed existing and proposed slopes, generating slope maps to help identify ideal locations and alignments of the building, driveway, and terrace areas. 

To make matters more challenging, there was an existing ditch running through the center of the building envelope. ALA carefully modeled the ditch and proposed re-grading and revetement so that the building could 'bridge' the new stream course, which would be naturalized and deepened to create a gorge effect.

Using the modeled topography and site, incorporating the architectural model, ALA developed illustrative views communicating design intent to the client and consultant team.

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ALA is Hiring!

ALA is seeking an entry/junior-level landscape designer with an exceptional eye for graphics and keen interest in all aspects of design from residential gardens to large-scale master plans and urban development. The ideal candidate will be passionate for design communication and technically proficient in the Adobe Suite (including Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator), AutoCAD, and Sketchup. A working knowledge of Vectorworks and BIM workflow a plus. 

Interested candidates can expect an intimate studio environment with potential to play a direct role in all aspects of project design. 

ALA has studios in Colorado and Maine, with our main office in Portland, Maine. The position will be for the Portland, Maine office. 

Interested candidates should send resumes and portfolios (limit 5MB total) with subject line: Portland Employment to Nick at No phone calls please.

ALA Submits Proposal for Katahdin Woods + Waters National Monument

ALA is excited to submit a proposal in conjunction with a team of immensely talented designers, planners, and economists to help facilitate a guiding vision for the future of this incomparably wild and majestic landscape.

Spanning more than 87,000 acres along the East Branch of the Penobscot River, the monument seeks to preserve the native Maine wilderness while balancing recreation, tourism, and wildlife habitat and ecosystems.

ALA Wins Grand Prize in Bayside Adapts Design Challenge

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Amid a staggering field of talented and well-established architects, designers, and engineers, ALA's design submission title 'Back to Mill: Unearthing Portland's Emerald Necklace" was chosen by the independent panel of judges as the winning entry. 

ALA's submission tells the story of intertwined components of an entire city district evolving over time as a superorganism. The plans present a vision for re-aligning a freeway corridor and arterial streets that currently bifurcates the district, separating it from the sea and one neighborhood from another. In it's place,a multi-modal transportation corridor and greenway sets the table for redevelopment along the changing waterfront while stitching the district to it's broader landscape.

Read more about the entries and mission of Bayside Adapts here:

Start Your Engines! Aceto featured in March 2017 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine


ALA partner and landscape architect, Nick Aceto, was featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine's March 2017 issue titled Start Your Engines written by Kevan Williams. Williams' piece delves into the stories of up and coming landscape architecture firms across the United States. Nick was quoted throughout the article, sharing his experience growing up in Maine, practicing in the Rocky Mountain West and his journey to licensure and independent practice. Read the full interview with Nick here:

START YOUR ENGINES Landscape Architecture Magazine, March 2017

Portland Live/Work at Riverside Innovation

ALA was invited by Portland developer Ronald Gan and architect Evan Carroll of Bild Architecture to collaborate on a concept for a live/work district off Riverside Street in Portland, Maine. 

ALA developed a conceptual master plan, parking layout and building massing in close coordination with Bild and Gan. Concepts were illustrated, animated, and presented to the city as a proposal to purchase the city-owned parcel. The project is pending review.

ALA Opens Portland, Maine Old Port Studio

In addition to ALA's Colorado field office, Aceto Landscape Architects has opened it's New England studio in the heart of Portland, Maine's historic Old Port district.

Located at 428 Fore Street in it's north-facing 3rd floor studio, ALA has set it's roots in a space once occupied by a bottle collector. The old, wide pine floors, brick, and open duct work speak volumes about the historic buildings past and adaptive reuse. 

We are thrilled to pursue new opportunities in New England while maintaining our strong roots in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West.