Do you see any valuable potentials in Landscape design/ Landscape Architect?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Do you see any valuable potentials in Landscape design/ Landscape Architect?

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    Topic: Landscape


    Do you see any valuable potentials in Landscape design/ Landscape Architect?

    How much more can Landscape design contribute to climate change and to gain more understanding? Landscape design/ Landscape architect is very under rated. Or not even known what it is. Majority of people will probably know Landscape design as Garden Design, in the UK and Japan as I know of at least. 
    Landscape design can be psychologically change people’s behavior and lifestyle by placing right things at right place to give people certain emotion.
    I always wanted to discuss how much more Landscape designers can contribute to achieving sustainable life, or may be more simple and Earth-friendly life. I have been educated at University how to design landscapes and importance of ecology, but not much about what is needed in order to adapt climate change or urban life because we are not ecologist or scientist but my interest have always been in the climate change. 
    I like to ask if any other sector have seen potential value in landscape design, and if so what kind of potential? 
    Apologies for long essay I have just wrote, but I really liked to ask this question for a long time because I see lots of potential in Landscape design.

    George McNair



    LA and designers definately make our cities more enjoyable and aesthetical to live in. We see a whole host of workers installing irrigation, lawns and trees that cool the city and make some urban area look like parks. Hats off to the industry.


    Climate change is huge and involves every walk of life or profession before a solution can be formed.

    Zach Watson

    Coco your point is well taken, I have just completed my education, and have felt much the same way.  I would like to see Landscape Architects take a more prominent role in the field of design.  The issue that I believe we as a profession constantly hit the wall of profitability, our work generally is not something that can be sold or generate revenue in and of itself, and as we all know, money is what makes people make decisions on how to invest.  

    So what I personally would like to see is more Landscape Architects make a cross over to become developers.  I have heard so many people talk about they are at the mercy of their client and how much money they are willing to spend on the outdoor environment.  Well if a Landscape Architect was the one with the money and was making the investment, I personally would like to know if they would make the same decisions as their clients or would they invest the money in the ideas and concepts that they currently propose.  

    Simply put, take the bull by the horns.  

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Many people want to see landscape architects take a more prominent role. Why is it written from a third person perspective? Is that not an indicator that the expectation is for someone else to do it?


    Take it!


    As Tuco Rimerez said (“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” ), if you are going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk about it.

    mark foster

    To Zach’s point.  I think the perception of a landscape architect’s “value added” has to do with the client’s time horizon. A developer who is building to “sell out” a subdivision in 2 years will probably not care about what that stunning copse of beeches will look like (or how they will cut heating costs) in 25 .  He/she will also care less about sustainability (beyond the marketing value) for the same reason.

    I am seeing a really interesting “counter trend” to this in my residential clientele.  5 years ago, many treated their houses like cars (get a new one every 4-5 years), and the type of work they wanted to have done reflected this.  Now, with the housing mess, I am seeing fewer people but the ones who are interested have a much longer time span commitment because they are not planning to move on.   They care much more about sustainability because they will be living with the consequences.  Less work, but better.


    Zach Watson

    Andrew,I appreciate the comment and the point is well taken.  I have thought quite a bit about going into development because of my background in Landscape Architecture, because I would like to have the type of control over projects that I hear so many complain about.  The reason I place my comments in the 3rd person at the moment is because I feel like I need to work for a Landscape Architecture firm for a while, now that I’m out of school, so I have a better real world understanding of Landscape Architecture rather than just an academic one.  

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I appreciate that and my response, although influenced by your post, is based on the number of people who raise the issue from the third person.


    My opinion, from a small scale perspective, is that too many people link their own success and constraints to that of the profession as a whole. It really is an industry of individuals and individual firms making it work for themselves. There is not much of a lift from others being successful unless you are working directly with them.


    Sorry for the very late reply. And thanks for the comment!!! Very much appreciated.

    >>As Tuco Rimerez said (“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” ), if you are going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk about it.

    I think the same on probably everything else, however with this topic it is very sort of wired things happening. And I thought there are some recognition that needs to happen.

    For example, there are so many landscapes that are created by Architects. As I have studied at uni in landscape architect/landscape design, I have seen some missing parts that can be filled in by this recognition.

    Landscapes can be designed like an architecture. It is a space, with people, and elements, and environment. But the thing is, it is not a puzzle that can be moved around and fit into places just for the comfort spatially. It is more like reversi (the game). If something goes wrong in such a small space, that can change a whole thing. I am looking at more of positive side so it means that one little thing can change a whole thing as a system.

    Now the point is that this system i am talking about needs a whole networking. So everyone needs to have an awareness in this point.

    I am only a graduate student so I wanted to discuss and ask about this idea with all sorts of people from environmental manager to economic planner.

    Does it make any sense at all? 


    This is interesting. As taking the word of Tuco Rimerez, maybe more of collaboration works needed then? Would that work?

    I do understand. Everyone work for some profit I guess although it seems like there are some environmental passionate people and community building passionate people out there.



    A little bit like time is money? Somehow people adopting the idea of sustainability without realisation. Things have changed dramatically over a few years. Next generation don’t even have the same view or perception to what we have.

    From this point I am very interested in school environment and from now on I think it will be something I am focused on.

    As for the time being, some non profit organisation may change the idea of landscape architecture.

    Leslie B Wagle

    Coco, I have to admit I’m not sure what you mean by Landscape Architecture being “more like reversi (the game). If something goes wrong in such a small space, that can change a whole thing. I am looking at more of positive side so it means that one little thing can change a whole thing as a system.”

    I don’t know reversi but I think you might be talking about something outside of traditional site design. Maybe you mean the overall environment, where if something goes wrong, the whole system can be changed. In my experience, that’s not true at the site design level in most cases. In fact, the discovery of some underground utility or an unexpected client or government reviewer’s comments can quite often be worked around without changing the whole design. One time, a nutty public works department required turning radius (for the garbage truck) forced a lot of redesign of some apartments I was working on. (I questioned the radius as the trucks were serving other much tighter areas in the same part of town just fine but under time constraints, it was easier to comply than argue). But that was rare.

    I’m not sure either what you’re statement means about “some non profit organization may change the idea of landscape architecture.” Not likely, unless you mean that they might change their own thinking of what they want to hire for their own projects. If enough of all possible employers start to drop us from the picture, we would have to change or go extinct. But that would include for-profit, government, individuals, etc.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Passion is a wonderful thing. Getting work is a wonderful thing. They are not the same thing, although it is beneficial to all when they coexist.


    My comment about “shooting” instead of “talking”  is related to this. Many of us look at architects doing “landscape architecture” and want them to stop. The question is not how to stop them, but should be “what are they doing in order to get others to hire them for landscape design?” Somehow, people are willing to pay them for what they are doing whether we think it is good or not, whether we think they are unqualified or not, or whether we think we can do better than them or not.


    The fact is that people are hired to do this kind of work because the people who are doing the hiring see value that they are willing to pay for and people they are willing to work with no matter what their credentials are. Many LAs, it seems, think that that ASLA, some other ad campaign, or government mandate is what landscape architects need in order to get work. I have never seen or heard any AIA ads touting landscape design, nor have I seen any laws requiring their use. Individual firms are creating portfolios, producing work, and marketing themselves competitively and effectively and getting work because they are good at it. Others might be trying and not getting it. There is no conspiracy, just a mentality to go after it and do it.


    We are not a unit where each individual within the profession has value based on the value of the overall profession. The ones who are making it are the ones who are not waiting for someone else to raise the tide. It is the ones who look at what is being built, who is building it, what they value, and pushing a product that matches the buyer’s goals. 


    Standing on the side of the road with your thumb out for three hours instead of walking may not be the most productive way to move forward.

    Jamie Chen

    I agree that those who sling their portfolios with intent will get the work out there. 

    I think a major lack in general LA education is that aspect of the profession; how to go out and drum up business. 

    We have to explain to all sorts of initially disinterested laypersons what our purpose even IS (and some of us don’t have a neat soundbite for that) and then sell it. 

    I’ve found some truly inspiring tactics from “Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business” by Nancy Lublin. She’s the head of a non-profit. Non-profits operate in an high competition arena with limited budgets for ads/awareness campaigns/projects. There’s a lot to glean and learn from her experiences.

    If people are in this profession with a mission to do good, it makes sense to take what works for the non-profit orgs to get those jobs, to get the consulting and then leadership positions in regards to the issues that matter to them. 

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