ASLA should promote Landscape Architecture on HGTV

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION ASLA should promote Landscape Architecture on HGTV

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    Colleen Murphy

    So many people watch HGTV


    I concur!!!
    They should also have a “Project Landscape Architecture” design competition show on E!!!!

    David Lorberbaum

    I think that would be the only way for my wife to look at my work!


    It would be nice if the promotion took it beyond the backyard perspective, to show that LAs are involved with design of larger-scale spaces, other features that contribute to the aesthtic success and environemtnal amenities of neighborhoods. All too often you just see the home lot level of design, not how it relates to the larger landscape or urban design concerns. The public still has this idea of LAs as primarily garden designers. Still, some shows on HGTV, such as “Landscaper’s Challenge” have featured landscape architects, offering some visibility to the profession.

    Wes Arola, RLA

    The common day person will actually develop and understanding and see the difference between what a landscaper, landscape designer and landscape architect are. A fast paced design competition with international teams would be an interesting show! Add some liquor, drama , and foul language and we might be on to something for MTV!

    Jennifer de Graaf

    I LOATHE hgtv.

    I’m sorry for the negativity, but they have been blatantly ignoring the role of licensed landscape architects for years! They also make it seem like all the work we put in only takes a snazzy 20 minutes to accomplish. booo hgtv!

    I wonder what would happen if ASLA actually tried to correct the problem, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Jennifer de Graaf

    A quick note – since hgtv is designed to appeal to a lower common denominator than I believe Landscape Architecture deserves, IF the ASLA decided to pursue a television outlet for industry promotion, using a network such as PBS or Discovery Channel would be far more appropriate and would reach an audience prepared to listen and understand.

    There are countless discussions here on Land8Lounge addressing the lack of public understanding of our profession, but trying to change/raise the culture/education of the hgtv audience is a losing battle and brings our industry down to their level.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I agree with Jennifer.

    The first thing is that if you have followed HGTV over the years you will have seen it go with the flow of what sells more ads. They used to have some better landscape shows, but they neither attracted the right audience to keep their ratings up, nor made a big enough niche market to attract sponsers. The advertizing market is geared toward DIYers and house flippers (it should be called HFTV).

    A landscape architecture television show would be like watching the grass grow for most people. I’m afraid that it is PBS that is the only viable network. Where else can you see programs that no one else wants to watch? Waiting for God, The Vicker of …, , Antiques Road Show, and coming soon ….New Urbanism Idol, Rooftop Garden with the Stars, America’s Funniest Brownfields, Extreme Wetlands Makeover …..… each would have two episodes a year until the economy heats up.


    I disagree…plenty of people watched Top Design, I dont remember what channel that was on, and quite honestly don’t really care. All I am saying is that it would be interesting to see landscape architects/designers put to the “Top design” challenge, obviously be given situations that are out of the back yard…a chance to see creative minds go to work , push the envelope, and for some, to make complete fools out of themselves for our amusement.

    It wouldn’t be as much of a technical competition, which i agree with Andrew, most people wouldn’t watch that, except for us. But a true design competition. It would be great, all the drama, great ideas, and bad design, pure entertainment for us design professionals. Really, any discipline some what related to our field would be able to appreciate it.

    Jason T. Radice

    This is a BAD idea. It will just further the public’s misconception that LAs are just the folks who plant shrubs in your back yard. I get that enough already, thank you. And no, I won’t come look at your back yard.

    Keven Graham

    HGTV is certainly focused on the smaller home improvements for the most part and the weekend type project, But I think they do represent the time it takes on many of their programs over the years. Groundbreakers for example cronicles months of work and tells the length it take to get the work done. Over the life of HGTV I think they have edone a decent job of identifying LA’s if they have been involved. Remeber it takes LA’s to self promote and get placed in these shows, then the credits can be given. I agree it is targeted at a segment that we might not always consider our market and reprenting LA’s in general, but there is a segment of our profession that it does cover.

    I am not sure there is really a program out there that provides the market for what we often consider the higher end aspect of our profession. If we want to showcase that aspect we need to get ASLA members with cred placed in prominent media outlets like CNN or others as experts. When I do talks to various professions and groups on sustainability I often mention we can thank HGTV and other home improvement programs as well as Al Gore for bringing the landscape and issue to the front page of media. So it does not always matter if you agree with these ppoints or not, at least they are being discussed and now we can take the conversation further. yes HGTV’s market focus is the homeowner and the landscapes are not all that inspiring at times, but at least they are doing something. I do know that ASLA is focused on placing ASLA members in a position to be expert and they get requests often to offer opinions. But remeber most of the general media is for the do it yourself home owner and we can help them too.


    Do you even work?
    And since when is a looked down upon to work on someone’s back yard? That statement is a disgrace to our profession.
    Many of the jobs we do as landscape architects involve back yards, pools and private spaces of any scale.

    Jason T. Radice

    I guess you missed the sarcasm. There is absolutely nothing wrong with residential work, but it is small part of a very broad profession, one where there is plenty of competition from landscapers and designers. I’m sure in conversation when someone asks you what you do for a living, and you say ‘landscape architect’, they immediately respond that they have some sort of issue in their yard they want you to look at. It’s the inevitable response which is a result of the lack of understanding of the profession on the part of the general public, and the root of the ‘backyard’ comment. To those of us who do not practice residential design, it’s kind of annoying to explain ad nauseum “that’s really not what I do.” As far as the general public is concerned, Architects…you know what they do. Civil Engineers…you kind of get the drift. And LAs? Its always the backyard. The response of the public is the punchline because you know its coming. The scary thing is, even in the allied professions, such as architects and engineers, many really don’t grasp what LAs are capable of, and how we can be of value beyond planting plans.

    And yes, I have done a few residential designs for very select clients, but it is not the focus of my career. I worked my way up in the profession by doing manual landscape labor as well. So I’ve been there, done that. Thats why I feel we need more distinction from landscapers or landscape designers who have little or no education, and no license. HGTV really doesn’t provide that outlet, as they tend to lump LAs in with the others. If residential design is the path you have chosen, great, and may you have great success. Maybe I should amend that last comment to read ” Okay, I’ll look at your backyard, but it will cost you”

    Jonathan J. Bob

    According to the ASLA’s 2008 survey, 32% of the respondents billable hours were for residential design. Certainly not a small part of the profession. I think the broad scope of the profession, in some ways, allows for the general public’s confusion and misconceptions (and the fact that ‘Landscape” is in the title). Architects for the most part are involved in some way with the design, re-design, construction/engineering of structures. People tend to know what they do. As Josh stated in this discussion, HGTV is “Home and Garden TV” so of course their focus is the residential end of the profession.
    Also if you run into anyone in NJ, NY or PA, that is looking for a residential LA, please send them my way.


    What? You’ve never watched Mega Builders or any of those shows on the Science channel where they portray gigantic civil engineering projects? I’m a bit of a science geek and grew up with Popular Science magazine in the house, so I gravitate to that stuff. And I guess working with civil people for so many years kind of rubbed off on me, as much as I fought it.

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