The West Coast is a land of diverse beauty. This consists of California’s Redwoods and pristine beaches, the majestic mountains of Oregon, and the kaleidoscope of rich colors that make up Washington’s landscape. West Coast students also get to experience some of our country’s best landscaped college campuses. In the past, we ranked the top ten best landscaped colleges in the South, the Midwest, and the East Coast. Now, because we’re such consummate lawn nerds, we’ve decided to do the same for West Coast Colleges. The process has been both exhausting and inspiring. We’ve inspected hundreds of photos, interviewed students, alumni, and faculty, and scanned message boards to bring you this list. The criteria we used for ranking includes the amount of green space on campus, the prevalence and uniqueness of landscape installations, and the attention given to lawns and landscapes on campus. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 West Coast college lawns.
10. Washington State University
Washington State University (which is pretty much the whole city of Pullman, WA) is a historically beautiful campus. Established in March 1890, the University’s landmark clock tower stands watch over a campus with vast amounts of lush, green lawns. In addition, students and faculty are currently working with the Native Plant & Landscape Restoration Nursery to help establish tree plants, habitat restoration sites, and native plant displays for the new WSU Arboretum.
9. Pepperdine University
Nobody ever said that Malibu was ugly. But Pepperdine University certainly brings a unique flair to the area. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine is both academically selective and aesthetically beautiful. The amount of green space alone makes this campus amazing. Especially impressive is the main campus entrance road, which climbs a well-groomed grassy hill past the famous Phillips Theme Tower. Given California’s historic droughts, for the last 38 years Pepperdine has recycled all waste water generated on the Malibu campus using tertiary treatment. The resulting recycled water is used for over 99% of campus irrigation. Their sustainable approach to landscaping is most impressive and puts them at a #9 ranking.
8. Scripps College
Breaking the list at #8 is Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremount, CA. Though the school is tiny (only about 1,000 students), it makes up for it by its quaint design and quality landscaping. The school is consistently ranked among the most beautiful in the world, and it’s no wonder. The campus is lined with amazing fruit trees, olive trees, and strawberry plants, in addition to its trademark Rose Garden and numerous landscape installations.
Pacific Lutheran University is a private school resting on 156 woodland acres in a small suburb of Tacoma, WA. Established in 1890, it has a well worn traditional of great landscaping. The campus is surrounded by lush, green turf, and studded with ornately displayed trees and plants. The combination allows Pacific Lutheran to be ranked as our #7 best landscaped West Coast college.
6. Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University, known for its stellar basketball program and top-notch academics, lies in the beautiful city of Spokane, WA (we provide lawn service in Spokane!). Though it is consistently ranked for being one of the top academic schools in the country, lesser known but equally impressive is its devotion to the campus’s amazing appearance and landscaping.
Berkeley, one of the most prestigious Universities in the world (and the most selective US public school), is also a work of landscaping art. The campus, occupying 1,232 acres, is well-groomed and pristine. With its focus on sustainability, UC Berkeley supports the natural wonders surrounding its campus, such as the Eucalyptus Grove, which is the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America.
4. University of Washington University of Washington, a “public ivy” and one of our nation’s top research institutions, hits our list at #4 – and with good reason. With their ‘boat-gating’ and their metropolitan location, it may come as a surprise that UW is covered in illustrious turf. Its quad (pictured above) is a famous feat of landscaping, and their campus has been the backdrop of numerous movies.
3. Whitman College “Nowhere else but Whitman would a geo-thermal spring with its own raft of ducks be named with a Latin pun,” says the school’s website. They are referring to Lakum Duckum, of course, which is a man-made piece of amazing landscaping. The spring is surrounding by stone benches, where students congregate to study and hang out. In addition, Whitman College (located in Walla Walla, WA), features vast spreads of well-groomed lawns to enjoy most of the year.
2. Lewis & Clark College
Portland, OR is a city of young, active people who enjoy the outdoors. It’s no surprise then that Lewis & Clark College hits our list at #2. Its forested campus is perched on Palatine Hill in the Collins View neighborhood of Portland and is absolutely covered with natural beauty and foliage. Though it is blessed with a good natural environment, it is by no accident that the grounds crew so expertly maintains the college’s many vibrant lawns.
1. Stanford University Ahhh Stanford! You undoubtedly know it for its high selectivity and its world renowned academics – or for its many notable alumni – but we’d like to honor it today for having one of the most pristine landscaping teams in the country. To start, we have the main quad, the heart and the oldest part of Stanford’s campus, which is ornately decorated with the Stanford ‘S’ (pictured above). Furthermore, the rest of the campus is no less beautiful – well-groomed and super green with top notch landscaping. The combination of these factors grant Stanford as the top landscaped college on the West Coast.
Think we missed your school? Contact us and let us know, and we’ll be happy to reevaluate.