What is VALUE PROPOSITION for Landscape Architects?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE What is VALUE PROPOSITION for Landscape Architects?

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    Craig Anthony

    Dude, Classy response!

    Keep asking questions, we’ll figure out where you’re coming from.




    Your absolutely right. I was out of line and went over the line in my commentary. It came

    from a place of frustration and low tolerance for some of the blog topics that get floated her

    sometimes. I do not apologize for finding this one very topic to be a little lean on intro and background

    that might lead to the question that it poses.

    Thanks for calling me out on this one.



    jennifer Bloch

    hi chris –  in my experience civils do not use grading as a design tool but they execute grading like an engineer (without certain sensitivities). there’s a difference. imho

    Eric McQuiston, RLA

    I have not posted in Land8 in some time but I found this to be of some interest to me. I think that what our Slovenian friend,  aaVlaDoR, is asking about is the business concept of ‘Perceived value’.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew and others with one exception. I think the emphasis in this thread has been assigned to how we as practitioners perceive ourselves rather than as the public or other professionals perceive us.

    Perceived Value is defined as – The worth that a product or service has in the mind of the consumer. The consumer’s perceived value of a good or service affects the price that he or she is willing to pay for it. For the most part, consumers are unaware of the true cost of production for the products they buy. Instead, they simply have an internal feeling for how much certain products are worth to them. Thus, in order to obtain a higher price for their products, producers may pursue marketing strategies to create a higher perceived value for their products. – from Investopedia


    I also suggest looking up ‘Subjective Theory Of Value’ on the same site.

    Since Landscape Architecture is such a diverse field it has diverse consumers. Some of these consumers are developers, related professional practitioners and residential or business owners. The value of our services to each consumer group is different according to how valuable they perceive our services to be.

    For example; since in many states practice law does not permit a landscape contractor to charge a fee for design but does allow them to prepare drawings relevant to their work, they offer ‘Free Design’. This ia a legal loophole that the contractors have turned into a marketing ploy. I don’t fault them, but, the residential consumer is typically not familiar with the law so their perception is that design services are ‘free’ or have little or no monetary value. After all, how else could they be free?

    I was recently approached by a developer who is building five hotels in my state. He ‘had someone’ in another state work with the local planning and Zoning commission in developing a ‘planting plan’ that met all local criteria. His problem was finding someone locally to stamp the drawings. One local LA offered to review/stamp the drawings for $300 bucks. The developer felt that was too much!

    That is our value to him! (I didn’t stamp the drawings but offered my services on his future projects.)

    This is a rant I have been on before and I can only say that it is incumbent upon us to educate our consumers on the value of our services. We certainly cannot rely on ASLA or anyone else to do so. 

    mark foster

    I don’t think practice law is the main reason so many contractors give “free design”.  I think they mistakenly believe it is an effective marketing tool.  Trouble is, most people who get something for nothing believe it is worth exactly that.

    Clients run the gamut–from those who want the most stuff as cheaply as they can get it, to those who want the best talent they can get.  Unfortunately, some of the former become the latter only after they have been burned a few times–not because of any amount of education someone could give them beforehand.

    Jamie Chen

    I came across a similar question from the other side, the client side. It was a question posted to a gardener forum, where a home owner had just started looking into making their front yard and driveway better and was completely overwhelmed by all the different professions in the phonebook. 

    Landscaper. Landscape contractor. A person who’s been laying out driveways for a couple of decades. Landscape designer. Landscape architect.

    They looked into the landscape architects in their area and thought “They seem to be doing all these big city parks and things. Surely they wouldn’t care about my little bit of land! They are intimidating!”

    The discussion came down to this; the first three could probably do it, but it won’t be pretty. The landscape architect could do it all, make it drain right, make it attractive and increase long term value. But it will cost more up front.

    And so, everybody on the forum suggested the home owner look into landscape designers because of the cost factor, and be sure to check their portfolio and previous project references. 

    I think that is it, right there. Landscape architects have the training to speak and think in technicalities and also at the same time belong to a profession that deals in subjective “taste making”.

    The range of materials and physical site circumstances that we are trained to take into account in our design process is what does set us apart, if any of us steps up to claim that we can do it to the public at large. 

    I watch home and garden shows. Plenty of interior decorators speak a design language immediately familiar to us. But a lot of the time, the discussion of positioning sinks and tubs doesn’t go into deeper considerations; like run length of pipe and other utilities. It takes contractor hosted shows to go into the guts of a building system; talks about insulation, of the bearing loads carried by beams, or the whys and wherefores of copper vs pvc for plumbing. The networks address a lack on one side or another by providing subs for the lead host of complementary professions. It’s not too common to see an interior decorator that can wield a Sawzall or a contractor who can differentiate between French xx vs. Georgian decor styles.

    In contrast we can get into the dirt and draw up ideas. 

    I think that’s pretty awesome.  

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