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  • You’ve probably seen photos from Chelsea Flower Show. For a week in late May each year, the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in south London are filled with show gardens and horticultural exhibits. The C […]

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  • A design portfolio, especially for the young and less experienced designer, is an intimidating document to create. We’ve all heard rumors of older students with silver bullet portfolios that secure them endless j […]

    • A well written article, Caleb, concerning Landscape Architect’s Portfolios. You’ve made some excellent suggestions!

      I agree that the LA’s Design Portfolio is critical to getting a job offer. I was always taught early on in my career… always put your best foot forward with respect to your Portfolio. If the example is not “outstanding” don’t include it. I think LA firms are wanting to know if and how a candidate can contribute….looking for that potential. Having a great GPA with your University work is definitely a positive, but, having outstanding computer drawing & hand drawing skills (color renderings), etc. is more important…a strong Portfolio will get you a closer look from a potential LA Firm.

      I think too, producing a “creative” approach with your LA design portfolio is a plus. For me, coming out of Texas A&M University back in 1977, my Dad (who was an exceptionally gifted Advertising Artist & Graphic Designer) recommended I take a creative approach with my Resume’ (that acted also as a brief design portfolio). My Dad suggested I produce a creative & graphic “poster”. And, stay away from the typical 8″ x 10″ Resume’ format. So, I was able to include Resume’ info. & some LA graphic samples of my work on a Poster…roll them up and mail them in a mailing tube. Again, that was way back in 1977…times have changed. I agree, 10 to 12 very good Portfolio Samples is best today.

      But, I did receive some very positive feedback from that “poster idea”. I received a letter from EDSA in Ft. Lauderdale (at that time, they were the #1 LA firm in the World) & I received interest from Lane Marshall’s Florida office (Lane was the President of ASLA at the time). I ended up getting an invite to interview with Lane Marshall…and then an offer from him. My first LA position was with Lane Marshall in 1977 in his Sarasota, Fla. office.
      So, some “creativity” in both a Resume & a Portfolio will definitely help an LA candidate.

      Your idea of having a website that contains several Portfolio Samples is a good one. Over the years, I maintained a FLICKR website with my Professional Portfolio Samples…and as I completed new projects, I would add photos, color renderings and photos of some of the final contract documents. But, ensuring ONLY my best samples were on that FLICKR website. I’m sure there are other types of websites that LAs can use. Maintaining a Portfolio throughout your LA design career is very important to your continued success.

      J. Robert (Bob) Wainner – Plano, Texas

    • Good stuff Caleb, and great tips for those first assembling a portfolio. I love your suggestion for demonstrating “hands on experience”.

      I’ve hired quite a few designers in my career and one additional suggestion is to clearly acknowledge team projects and what your role was. Whether academic or professional.

  • Clients and employers often complain that landscape architects, particularly young designers, are failing at planting design. Previous articles on Land8 have identified planting design as a challenging area for […]

    • Visiting local nurseries with plants tagged and identified is probably the most efficient way to familiarize yourself with regional plant material. Also, tending your own garden as well as getting out in nature at various times in the season will provide firsthand experience on plant growth and habit.

      Planting design software and databases are very poor options for full understanding and make for the weak knowledge we’re now seeing.

    • Hi Jack: Thanks for your thoughtful response. Visiting regional nurseries is a fantastic way to figure out what’s commonly available in your area. It’s important to pair observation of nursery stock with observation of established plants – your public gardens are a great resource for this practice. And the more time you can spend physically dealing with plants, the better!

      I agree that you can’t expect software and databases to be very useful for education about plants and how they grow – however they’re a fantastic tool for more effectively managing the design and documentation process.

    • Very informative and useful article. Thank you so much for writing. This is a great idea.

    • Nice article with sound ideas. One tangent to Public Gardens are Cemeteries. It’s amazing how many of them function like a formal garden/park space.

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