100 Lessons Learned From Studying Landscape Architecture

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After spending the past 4 years studying to be a Landscape Architect, LAN writer Joe Clancy divulges on what he picked up during his time studying, with some funny moments and lots a practical notes these 100 lessons learned form studying Landscape Architecture is a list not to be missed. Enjoy!   #100 Drink coffee. #99 Avoid negative people and those who hang around the watercooler. #98 Help those who need help. #97 Don’t waste your time with people who don’t want to work. #96 Always be reading at least 3 books, on different subjects, which are related to landscape architecture. #95 Plan for the “What can go wrong, will go wrong” scenario. #94 Never leave printing to the last minute. #93Question your lecturers. #92 Take breaks. #91 Travel as much as possible. #90 Never use “erm”, “kinda”, “its not great”, “i just” during a presentation or critique.  You might as well shoot yourself in the foot. #89 Drink coffee. #88 Post-design rationalisation is fantastic if you can pull it off, but never rely on it.

Studying Landscape Architecture

#87 Photoshop and AutoCAD do not make you a good designer.

#87 Photoshop and AutoCAD do not make you a good designer. #86 Always carry a notebook to write down & sketch ideas. #85 Creativity doesn’t adhere to a 9-5 timetable. #84 Phone home. #83 Go to as many lectures and talks as possible. #82 Google “Gestalt”. #81 Make it multi-functional, make it fun. #80 You will use the word sustainable so much, it will lose all meaning. #79 “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time”. – Leonard Bernstein #78 Read Edward De Bono. #77 When it comes to planting design and specification, KISS. See also our top names in planting design! #76 Drink Coffee. #75 Your computer will crash.  You will lose all your work.  Backup, backup, backup! #74 Don’t replicate, innovate!
Studying Landscape Architecture

#73 Objectives don’t make sense if a SWOT doesn’t identify them.

#73 Objectives don’t make sense if a SWOT doesn’t identify them. #72 Keep your workspace tidy! #71 “Creative minds are rarely tidy”. – Carl Gustav Jung #70 Engineers are the Oompa Loompas of the planning process. #69 Planners have no souls.  Don’t be fooled. #68 Architects are not as self obsessed as you would think.  They’re much worse. #67 will be your lifesaver if you know nothing about plants. #66 Listen to music. #65 “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery #64 Avoid energy drinks. #63 Drink coffee. #62 Students go to University to make mistakes.  Just make sure you learn from them. #61 Be silly, but never stupid. #60 You will at sometime, spend several nights sleeping in the studio.  They turn the heating off at ten.  Bring a blanket. #59 Read Jan GehlJane JacobsIan McHargPiet OudolfNigel Dunnett and Timothy Beatley.
Studying Landscape Architecture

#58 Draw on BIG pieces of paper

#58 Draw on BIG pieces of paper. #57 Limitation inspires creativity. #56 Ask “what the design wants to be”, not “what you want it to be”. #55 Procrastination is a death sentence.  JUST DO SOMETHING. #54 Horizontal rain is a common occurrence in Ireland. #53 No one knows what a landscape architect is or does. But we try to answer is, check out “What is Landscape Architecture?”. #52 When rolling drawing sheets, roll them with the drawing side facing outwards.  It will avoid an unnecessary  struggle on presentation days! #51 Pantones are expensive, but never buy crayola. #50 You cannot design a space without understanding “prospect – refuge” theory. #49 Drink coffee. #48 Pack rain gear for site visits. #47 If you can’t take criticism and use it positively, you’re in the wrong career. #46 Dream out loud. #45 Don’t ever sketch an element literally. #44 Good drawings are drawn hierarchically. #43 If anyone ever suggests Begonias, say no.  In the face.  With a shovel. #42 “Stupid”, “boring” and “pointless” first year studio exercises are the most important lessons in design you will ever learn. #41 Cool colours recede, warm colours advance. #40 Studio is about developing a good design process, not the “perfect” project. #39 Learn the language of design. #38 Learn (and understand) the design principles as well as the back of your hand. #37 A variety of uses, to attract a variety of users. #36 When giving a presentation, start with general information and then move on to specific details. #35 During a presentation, make eye contact. #34 Drink coffee.
Studying Landscape Architecture

#33 “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein

#33 “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein #32 “Less is more”.  – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe #33 Less is less is if you don’t understand Modernism. #31 Leaving time for test printing runs will save you a great deal of stress and worry. #30 Presentation boards should be legible from 10ft away. #29 Give areas/elements within your design a name.  It gives them character, identity and a sense of reality.  “Cloud Gate” sounds a lot better than “The Bean”. #28 Mind mapping works. #27 Take up meditation. #26 The journey to a space and its experience, is just as important as the one within the space. #25 The most creative people are critical of their own thought process, constantly assessing their thinking methods, seeking out and testing new ways to think and be creative. #24 Design like you give a damn. #23 Printers break down. #22 An idea is a specific mental structure by which we organize, understand, and give meaning to external experiences and information. #21 Revealing and screening, denial and reward are powerfully strategies for drawing users through a space. #20 A steeper slope will slow a person down and appreciate a framed view for longer. #19 Design firms don’t want a standard CV.  Show off your skills and add a bit of design flair to your portfolio. #18 Know your native species. #17 Don’t be xenophobic in your plant choices.
studying landscape architecture

#16 Perspective drawings will sell any project.

#16 Perspective drawings will sell any project. #15 If you can’t present, it won’t matter how good a designer you are, people won’t understand your ideas. #14 It can take 6 – 9 years to become a chartered landscape architect, from university enrolment to professional exams. #13 Hand drawing is not dead, so don’t pretend like it is. #12 The Planting Design Handbook by Nick Robinson is a must read. #11 Work with community groups for free.  It will pay back in time. #10 Drink coffee. #9 Get out and raise awareness about landscape architecture.  Talk to people on the street, post about it on Facebook, become involved with the ILI. #8 When intimidated by a project, start with the easiest tasks first.  This will help you build momentum and confidence as you progress. #7 Ask for advice and help when you need it. #6 Keep up to date with all the landscape architecturearchitecture & design websites for inspiration
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#5 Design WITH models #4 Making a final presentation model will always take longer than you think it will #3 Landscape architects are design obsessed people.  It will happen to you. #2 Don’t take anything seriously.  Have fun with it. #1 Caffeine withdrawal is terrible.   Like the Article? Check Out the T-Shirt! Article written by Joe Clancy Please check out Joe’s website: Designing The Landscape Image credits:

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