If you’ve spent any time in Washington DC, particularly in the section of DC where everyone visiting will spend the majority of their time, you’ve no doubt realized that the area immediately surrounding the White House isn’t especially inviting. Sure, crossing south from the White House to head over to the center of the National Mall you’ll pass some trees and some various other pieces of greenery, but it’s mostly just grass. Lots and lots of grass. Take that walk in the summer, without nearly a tree in sight and you’ll feel like you’re in a desert (one with lots of humidity and tourists). However, the National Capital Planning Commission is eager to try and remedy that issue, at least out to Constitution Ave and still leaving The Ellipse treeless, so of course not to block the President’s view of the Washington Monument. The organization has picked five finalists for the President’s Park South Design Competition. There’s Roger Marvel Architects, Hood Design Studio, and the firm you’ve likely come to expect whenever it comes to high-profile landscape design competitions, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. The five finalists’ plans will be on display at the White House Visitor Center until Monday, followed by a public meeting to address the plans at the NCPC’s headquarters on Tuesday. And as it appears that the government is itching to move forward with this, they’ll announce the winner on Thursday the 30th. For those who can’t make it to DC, you can weigh in on each plan through the competition’s site. Our money is on Van Valkenburgh for the win, considering lately he’s seemed like both a darling of the presidential set, the governmental set, and well, again, high-profile landscape architecture competitions in general.