Joseph Werner of Werner Hendrickson is a 2023 5 Under 40 Winner

September 11, 2023

Today we celebrate another one of our 2023 5 Under 40 winners.

Text by Paula M. Bodah

Joe Werner was on his way to a degree in German at the University of Georgia when, just for fun, he took a landscape architecture class. “I fell in love with it,” he says, and in 2014 he graduated with BAs in both German and landscape architecture.

His career took him first to the Los Angeles area, but when the firm he worked for offered a transfer to Connecticut he jumped at the chance to move back east. Just last March, he and longtime colleague Elizabeth Hendrickson (a 2020 5 Under 40 winner) opened their own firm, the Stamford, Connecticut-based Werner Hendrickson Landscape Architecture.

The fledgling business already has plenty of work. “We’ve been really fortunate,” Werner says. “We already had a lot of connections to designers and architects, and we’ve had past clients who have called on us or referred us.”

He loves all aspects of landscape architecture, from the big picture to the minutiae. “Site planning, creating garden rooms, making smaller experiences out of larger spaces is a rewarding thing,” he says. “But the details of plant materials and masonry, things that are tactile and close up, are what really make a project.”

Werner’s current passion is all about those details. “Right now, I’m having a love affair with plant materials and color combinations,” he says.

Besides landscape architect and business owner, Werner has taken on the role of staff photographer for the firm. “It’s a unique and amazing thing to be able to say, ‘I drew this, installed it, and photographed it,’ ” he says. “I’m finding a lot of joy in the photography.”

As for that German degree, he confesses with a laugh: “I try to keep some practice going, but so far it hasn’t particularly come in handy.”

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