Landscape architecutre in the USA and other places

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Landscape architecutre in the USA and other places

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    Hi all,


    I am seeing all this negative stuff about Landscape Architeture in the USA about the place; re, no work, crap pay, no repect from other professionals, even a ‘Glorified Gardener title’ comes across in my net surfing activities. I am thinking of coming to work there some day, OR WAS! So my question; is  this just a few silly wingers saying this stuff ( apart from the current employment situation of course, im talking in general here). Or is this a deep seeded industry cultural thing over there? I find this stuff written so much its quite bewildering; but then again the net is often a place where people come to whine about stuff; when the happy people are just going about there business.


    Also people on here from other places; do you/have you experienced this type of thing? Im not talking about normal meaningless workplace/industry power tripping and ego here (you can get that in any job); im talking something much deeper…



    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I think you need always to look at who is saying what. The dissatisfaction is more related to expectations resulting in disappointment. There were lots of reasons to have high expectations for those who began the process of going to school between four and twelve years ago. The expectation was that you’d come out of school into a $50k job with all other employers fighting over you. You either believed that this was going to go on for ever like a rookie real estate broker, or you knew it was the “landscape architecture bubble” that would pop like it always does. That is as old as the profession.

    A new expectation was that we were going to be in positions to save the environment and implement social justice because it is easy to make correlations between what we do  and these issues. I believe that because there are so many people with strong feelings on these issues and no clear profession where they could land there was a strong recruitment of like minded students with great expectations. The missing link is the actual jobs that allow you to do this as the main purpose of your job. We all use these skills to influence the outcome of any project, but the idea that it is the center of the profession is quite misguided.

    Bottom line: Measure the opinion of the state of the profession with the expectations of those making the opinion.

    Theodore Tegen

    but then again the net is often a place where people come to whine about stuff; when the happy people are just going about there business.

    I think you nailed it right there.  I browse some automotive forums from time to time, and it’s the same thing there; you really only here about people’s problems with their vehicles, and rarely hear someone saying “oh man this car is so great!  There is never anything wrong with it!”


    So I think you’re quite right in that people often voice complaints, but rarely voice praise.

    Kevin J. Gaughan

    I’ll voice some praise. I think the US is a great place to be a landscape architect. Sure we have some identity issues here…but I have done enough traveling to realize that that is the case pretty much anywhere. I work for a small firm which focuses mostly on high end residential design, and we work with some fantastic architects who really do respect our professional skills. Because of this mutual respect, we have had to opportunity to truly collaborate…not just with architects, but builders and civil engineers as well. Being located in the Chesapeake watershed, sustainability and stormwater management are issues that are always on the table when we meet with clients, which gives us not only the opportunity to educate our clients, but also the be free to do the right thing, environmentally, with little pushback.


    I may be a unique case…but I don’t believe it is true. I just think, like you mentioned, that others who are getting to practice this way are having too much fun designing to take the time to write posts about how great things are going. Lastly, based on the amount of work we have coming into our office (enough to let us hire another employee), it looks like the economy is well on it way back.


    Cheers to a great 2011!



    Landscape architecture is still a new profession that after 100 years is still trying to define itself. Some times there are allied professionals that don’t give the profession the respect it deserves. There are architects and civil engineers that think they can do what we do. Some can, but most can’t. Some of them have dealt with flighty LAs who have very little technical ability, so they’ve concluded that all LAs do is “bush things up” and put curves where there should be straight lines. But, when they run into a solid LA who can speak their language, grade and drain a site efficiently, design a project that comes in under budget, make all the deadlines and on-top of all that create an aesthetically pleasing place, they’ll give that person all of the respect in the world. I would say most LAs over here are pretty serious about our craft, but for some it’s just a job.


    As far as pay is concerned, I’ve lived a decent lifestyle for the last 20+ years. I’m not rich, but prior to the economic downturn I pretty much did all of the things I enjoyed doing. I’ve had to move around the country a bit to maintain work, but how can a guy who makes a living walking around undeveloped sites, talking with (mostly) cool clients, designing landscapes and spending a lot of time around construction projects, but never getting sweaty or dirty complain? Landscape Architecture here in the States is not perfect, but it’s the perfect profession for me.


    Honestly, I think you’re hearing a lot of whining and belly aching about the profession at this time because a lot of people are out of work right now and they have time to vent on Land8. Another thing is some folks are disenchanted with the profession because it’s not as “green” as they feel it should be. Lastly I think a lot of people are just whiners. If they‘re not whining about one thing, they’re whining about another.

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