Skip to main content
College of Environment and Design

Ron Sawhill



Phone: 706-542-0062
Street address: 3 Bishop House
Head shot Ron Sawhill




College of Environment and Design logo

Biographical Information

Ron Sawhill is an Associate Professor and the BLA Internship Coordinator for the College of Environment and Design. Since 1995 he has taught a wide range of courses including design studios, construction and stormwater management related classes. In addition to teaching in Athens, he has taught a number of semesters at the UGA campus in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Ron is a professional landscape architect, a past-President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and an active member of the CED Alumni Association steering committee. In his spare time he is developing a small farm outside of Athens. Originally from Michigan, he has spent most of his life in Georgia, and most of his professional work is found in the southeastern states.


MLA, University of Georgia (1995)
BLA, University of Georgia (1980)


Ron Sawhill’s research interests include soil and stormwater management, space and land forming, and the pedagogy of landscape engineering.

Professional Viewpoint

I believe that landscape architecture has at its core the principle that we are stewards of the land, and I define the land as being by nature comprised of earth, water, vegetation, wildlife and people. As landscape architects then, our aim must be to understand, design and manage the land and its components in a way that maintains the integrity of the ecosystem while satisfying human needs and desires. Thus, our realm of study and practice encompasses the full breadth of the landscape.

But we are also shapers of spaces and makers of places. Through studio we explore how form influences human experience and how the selection and placement of plants, materials, structures, finishes, and water features can create unique and fulfilling environments in which people may live. Through classes like stormwater management and site construction, tools for understanding the realities of place and process are provided, equipping the student of landscape architecture to translate vision into reality.

Personally, I find all aspects of our profession interesting and I attempt to convey as much of that interest as I can. Design is a process of discovery and refinement, and there is no better education than one that challenges us to think, to explore, and to create. My hope and aim is to inspire and instruct students that they might be the professionals who will give form, structure and positive character to the world we will become.

Selected Publications

Sawhill, Ronald B. “Turf.” A chapter in: Landscape Architecture Graphic Standards. 2007. Len Hopper, Editor. pp. 705-712. Wiley. NY.
Sawhill, Ronald B. “Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.” A chapter in: Landscape Architecture Graphic Standards. 2007. Len Hopper, Editor. pp. 786-791. Wiley. NY.
Sawhill, Ronald B. 2005. “Porous Turf.” Chapter 7. pp. 241-283, in: Porous Pavements, by Bruce K. Ferguson. (Integrative studies in water management and land development; 6). CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.

Selected Graduate Theses Supervised

Liles, E. L. 2015. Landform Grading as a Solution: Erosion, Landscape and Stormwater Runoff in Maggie Valley, NC.
Conant, Blake. 2013. Bankrupt Golf Courses: An Historical Analysis and Guidelines For Repurposing.
Kelleher, Sam. 2012. Quantifying water conservation in the Founders Memorial Garden.
Bentley, Ryan. 2008. Incorporating human uses in wastewater treatment wetlands.
Velazquez, Estrella. 2008. An application of low impact development stormwater management techniques to an existing residential development.


American Society of Landscape Architects
Gamma Sigma Delta National Honor Society of Agriculture
Sigma Lambda Alpha National Honor Society of Landscape Architects

Honors and Awards

UGA Outstanding Teaching Award for Superior Teaching in the College of Environment and Design (2010)
Gamma Sigma Delta Junior Achievement in Teaching Award. UGA Chapter. (2008)
Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Research and Communications Honor Award. For: CELA 2005: A Time for Place; Conference Proceedings of the 2005 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture annual conference, Athens, GA. USA. G. Harrison, M. Reinburger and R.B. Sawhill, Editors. 156 pp. (2006)