J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

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    I’d like to respond to your comments on this topic, Andrew.

    First & foremost, the “Design” has to be outstanding, creative, in budget and meets all of the clients’ criteria. During the Preliminary Design Process, IMO, you don’t need to be or shouldn’t be on computer software…if you don’t know HOW to sketch or draw/design “by hand”, you need to learn. Have you ever heard of Mike Lin (or his son Brian Lin?)…they are 2 of the TOP Graphic Designers in the World (Brian Lin is also a very accomplished LA)…together, they run the “Beloose Workshop” where they travel the U.S. teaching University students how to improve their hand drawing skills. EVERY LA should have strong graphic design skill…not just autoCAD or computer drawing skills.

    As for autoCAD, with all due respect, I have seen your company Website on-line (and, IMO), the sample autoCAD Planting Plan on your website is very weak. Well, it is.

    Over my nearly 40 year LA design career, I have designed approx. 600 projects in 17 different States “by hand”. A majority of those projects contained from 20 to 30 sheets. I began producing hand drawn Architectural Drawings in the 7th grade, so, a lot of experience with “hand drawn” Preliminary & Final Contract Documents. Trust me, all of those nearly 600 projects got built and built correctly…as I personally inspected over 60% of them as part of my contract agreement. I even had a few Architects & Civil Engineers who were reviewing my Final Contract Documents with me….ask me, “are these autoCAD plans”?…and I explained to them, “no, they are hand drawn, I don’t do autoCAD”. They were very surprised. Andrew, really, no disrespect intended….but, I would put my “hand drawn” plans up against your “autoCAD” drawings any day.

    I looked at your LAND 8 Profile for “portfolio samples”…and saw none. Why? I have posted many samples of my design .projects (photos and drawings). And, I have a FLICKR website that contains approx. 75 samples of my design projects.

    Yes, I do agree…times have changed and every design profession are all now using computer software programs. But, I have seen some autoCAD drawings produced by LAs with 10, 15, even 20 plus years of experience and their autoCAD drawings were very poorly drawn! Looked like spaghetti, because, those LAs don’t understand the importance of “line weights” or HOW to get their auto CAD drawings to read “graphically”, so that contractors in the field can read and understand them.

    Though I am now semi-retired, I only design “Residential” projects and if you go with 1/8 scale drawings…hand drawn plans will work fine. But, now, most of the design work I produce is for LA friends of mine (and what I design are mostly “Preliminary Plans”, such as pool amenity areas or residential masterplans that are 2D and sometimes in full color…along with a Preliminary Cost Estimate). I have learned over the years, that especially for Residential clients, hand drawn preliminary plans that are graphically bold and well drawn…are more appealing and have a more “personal” touch than a computer drawing.

    Like I said, I do fully understand the need for autoCAD and other computer software drawing skills in today’s design world…but, IMO, to some degree, computer drawings are over-rated. But, I also realize that few LAs would be offered a job without those computer drawing skills. But, I think you’d be surprised at how many LA firms also request (or require) hand sketching and/or hand color rendering skills.


    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner


    I KNEW……it was just a “matter of time”, when I would see that young Landscape Architects would begin to search for
    COMPUTER SOFTWARE programs that would actually DO the Landscape Architectural Design work FOR THEM. IF we had software programs that could do all of the skills and had very creative design abilities……we could just eliminate ALL 70 U.S. University Landscape Architectural Degree Programs.

    OK, I’m being a little bit “tongue in cheek” here…..but, some on people…..you need to LEARN the necessary skills to practice Landscape Architecture. I had a very busy, intense and rewarding 40 year career practicing Landscape Architecture in over 14 different States…..and I produced drawings for nearly 600 projects that were ALL “hand drawn”….ZERO autoCAD and ZERO computer software programs.

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner


    July 19th…..again, looking at the LAND 8 job board today. 95% of the LA job openings are in locations like California, CT., New York…high cost of living and high state income tax states. I see a few jobs located in Florida…but, you have to be aware that the State of Florida requires a pretty challenging “State of Florida Landscape Architecture Exam”…in order to become a licensed LA in that State. Of course, there are TONS of other Job Boards on the Internet…maybe those have more favorable “locations” for LA jobs.


    P.S. from Bob. I agree with you Mark…good suggestions. I really don’t know the DB business for LAs very well. My background has been ONLY with LA design firms (and my own). Like you, the first several yrs. working in LA firms (about 5 plus yrs.) I was mostly producing final construction/planting plans (that were by senior designers); and base sheets, plant take-offs, etc.
    It’s not FUN work for sure, but, you still learn a lot in the process…and that experience goes a long ways.

    In my situation, it just made more sense to go out on my own “as a 1 person LA firm”…work out of my home design studio (which I’ve been doing since 1991). No employees, practically zero overhead…just have to pay the IRS quarterly.

    Catherine, IF you could pick up 4 or 5 good years of experience working for an LA design firm OR a good Design-Build Firm that has several talented LAs on staff who you could learn from…that exp. would serve you well…and put you in a good position to create your own Company. I don’t know how many years of LA experience you have so far…or the types of projects you’ve been involved with, so, you may only need 2 or 3 yrs. of working for an Design Firm to pick up some extra design

    I do have an LA friend in Florida, who passed the L.A.R.E. exam and worked for a Licensed LA for 2 yrs. (required) to be eligible for an LA license in most States. He also took and passed the Florida LA State exam. Though he graduated with an LA degree 10 yrs. ago, he worked in other types of jobs for about 5 of those years. So, he now has 3 additional yrs. of experience…but, they were designing on his own (not with an LA firm). And, his LA business is very busy. I just don’t feel he yet has enough design experience IMO. I personally don’t recommend this path…as I don’t believe anyone can teach themselves Landscape Architecture. I just feel it’s important to learn from some exp. & talented LAs before you make an attempt to go out on your own.

    And something every LA should know. When you do decide to go out on your own…regardless of how much experience you have, how much start-up money you have…it will take you at least (2) years to get your design firm up and running. That’s how long it took me. I marketed like crazy all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, every week…and just designed every little job I could get my hands on…until 2 yrs. into it, I began picking up BIG projects…like large multi-family developments (I had approx. 12 yrs. of previous exp. designing Apt. projects), so, I had built up a portfolio)…from then on, I was off to the races…up to my eyeballs with design work. Putting together a “professional website” is a must today, I think. And keep adding content to that website as you move forward; and of course, there are many other ways to market your design services.



    July 12, 2019
    Hello Catherine;

    Well, no, I am not a “female”, but, a male who has been practicing Landscape Architecture since 1977. I’m about to turn 70 years old in a few months….and I definitely sympathize with your situation.

    You really DO need “design experience” to move forward in your design career. And, it doesn’t sound like you’re going to change the minds of the older guys running that company…concerning your role.

    I’d “suggest” that you try to find a large enough Landscape Architecture Firm…where you could have many opportunities to design projects…where there are experienced & talented LAs on board who are willing to mentor you…male and female LAs you can learn from. With experience you pick up from an LA firm like that…you’ll be in a better position to establish your OWN LA design practice. Though, you will need to be a Licensed Landscape Architect. However, here in Texas, if you ONLY use the title “Landscape Designer”, you’re allowed to design some types of projects…like Residential projects.
    Also, having a pretty good LA design portfolio will help on job interviews…and there’s an inexpensive book you can guy on Amazon.com called “Hire Me”…excellent book to help people give a perfect job interview.

    Not sure what your experience is with regards to “Residential projects”, but, it’s probably the easiest way to get design work and generate income. Good to build up your Professional portfolio. You’re not too old to establish your own LA design firm…I established my LA private practice here in the Dallas area when I was 41 (though, I did have about 13 yrs. prior design experience).

    Of course, you don’t want to leave a job like you have…..until you find another descent paying job OR until you feel like
    you can earn enough income from designing on your own. I have never wanted to be employed by a “Design – Build Co.”, though there are some I know of here in the Dallas area who have very good design staffs. But, for me, I wanted to stick with the LA design firms (design only). There are a TON of Job Boards on-line…besides the LAND 8 Job Board with many LA design jobs around the Country.

    But, IMO, I would be looking for a way OUT of your situation. You just have to plan for it carefully.

    Not sure any of this info. is helpful to you, but, let me know if you think I might be able to help you further.

    Kind Regards,

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner


    July 7, 2019……Once again, let’s look at the LAND 8 “Job Board”. 95% of the jobs
    are located in places like California, New York, CT., Washington State, etc. Only a couple of jobs are in locations where the cost of living is reasonable and where there are no State Income Taxes.

    People and corporations are leaving both California & New York…big time. I mean, look at all of the problems…especially in Southern California with homelessness and major housing shortages. Add forest fires, mud slides, high taxes, ridiculous cost of living, high gasoline prices and don’t forget earthquakes.

    I STILL maintain, “location” where you are employed as an LA is important to consider.

    For me, I always looked at “everything” in a city/state before I would consider interviewing with an LA firm. Even things like weather, politics, entertainment activities available, just everything.

    There ARE many other Job Boards….like INDEED.com and many others. I would recommend checking other job boards out as well…for some better job options (locations).


    Just a P.S. here…I’m a little “off topic” here, but, I think it sort of helps with my point of view on this TOPIC of what cities an LA might wish to work in.

    Example: AMAZON is going to build a HUGE Billion dollar facility in Arlington, Virginia. And, employee thousands of people with average salaries of $150k per year. Sounds good. But, let’s consider some of the “negatives”. Virginia has a 5.3% State Income Tax for that that $150k salary range. And, Federal Income Taxes could easily run between $40k to $50k. Then, you have the high “cost of housing”. Comparing Arlington, VA. to say, the Dallas, TX. area where I live…housing in Arlington, VA is 72% higher than the Dallas area. Transportation costs are also higher in the Arlington area. Then, from my standpoint, you also have to consider the annual “weather” up in Arlington, VA…uh, no thanks.

    I really love it up in Virginia (to visit)…and I have designed several projects in The State Of Virginia. But, IMO, Amazon could have found a BETTER location (that would be more beneficial to ALL of their employees). That $150k annual salary “sounds good”, but, when you consider the various “costs” of living in that area…maybe not the best city. NYC would have been even worse, IMO. There are many wonderful cities in the SOUTH with large, International airports, States with ZERO income taxes, much lower cost of living, lower cost of housing, BETTER weather, etc.


    June 13, 2019…..I noted on the “ABOUT” section here on LAND 8 that there are a total of 19,000 user accounts. But, today, I counted ONLY (61) LAND 8 members what have been active on the LAND 8 site during the past (30) days.

    IMO….only (61) members out of 19,000 participating here during the past month is really LOW.

    I personally would like to see MANY MORE members express their opinions here on LAND 8….get involved. LAs helping out LAs.

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner


    Oh, Andrew…I definitely “agree” with much of what you have stated in your comments above.

    And, I have to say that it’s nice to learn there really ARE some Conservatives in your State. IMO, having President Trump in the White House is a “plus” for our economy as well as the Landscape Architecture Profession. Development here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is booming…believe this area is currently ranked #1 with respect to economic development. I also believe…that 4 more years with Trump in the WH will benefit, not only a majority of Americans, but also, most LAs in America.

    Speaking further about “LA Internships”, yes, I agree, too many of the LA firms out there take advantage of your LA graduates. But, IMO, even a few years as an autoCAD monkey @ an LA firm provides an opportunity to begin to learn the business. My first 3 to 4 years as an LA involved little design…back then, every project was drawn “by hand”, so, I was drawing up projects for Senior Designers & the Principals of the Dallas firm I worked for. From years 4 through 12, I was designing…had 6 to 8 projects on my drawing board on an ongoing basis. We got up to 40 LAs and I was the Top Associate, so, besides designing my own projects, I was expected to help mentor the younger LAs. And,
    we did allow many of our younger LAs to get involved with designing some projects…just brought them along slowly. I would just spend time daily in the studio to make sure
    the younger LAs weren’t spinning their wheels…to help them progress, as I remembered being where they were when I first started out.

    So, at least for me, I feel it wasn’t until I had 8 to 10 years of design experience before I really felt like a “competent” LA, able to take a project thru from start to finish. But, as I gained more experience, I believe my talents/skills/creativity improved.

    I actually received my LA State Licenses in both Texas & Florida in 1979 (2 yrs. after I graduated from Texas A&M)…looking back, not sure WHY a State would allow such an inexperience LA to be issued a State License to practice OR use the Title “Licensed Landscape Architect”. Again, I just believe that more “value” should be placed on State LA Licenses…and by requiring, say, a min. of 5 years of design experience before an LA can apply for a State License, makes more sense to me. But, that’s just me.

    Yes, agree with what you stated about “value” of design services. Many potential clients just are NOT willing to pay for high quality design. IMO, I just don’t believe that very many people in the public really understand how difficult and challenging our profession is. And, that many believe ALL LAs are basically the SAME, regardless of how much experience they have…which, you and I both know, just isn’t true.

    So really, with regards to this topic “Landscape Architect Internships”, I do believe that you and I agree on most of these issues.



    P.S….June 11, 2019

    Tonight, I counted approx. (60) LAND 8 members who have been active in the past 30 days….ONLY 60 members out of 19,000? Curious as to WHY there seems to be so little participation from so many members?


    I actually “feel” for all of you who are having to take the FLORIDA LA EXAM. Although, I do realize there are a few other U.S. States who have “State LA Exams”…IMO, I just believe that FLORIDA is trying to “limit competition” by creating a State Exam…to keep the out of state Landscape Architects from practicing in Florida. It’s my understanding, that there are approx. (40) various sources that you need to study…where exam question can be taken from. I have heard that this Florida Exam is NOT easy. Like I said, IMO, The State Board wants to “limit” the competition of Licensed LAs already in Florida from outsiders.

    I was once a Licensed Landscape Architect in the State of Florida (from 1979 to 1989). By State Law, Florida was supposed to mail me a notification letter that dues were owed or they would VOID my Florida LA License…the State NEVER sent me that letter…which means, the Florida State Board at the time was in violation of Florida State Law!

    Approx. 5 years later, I needed to design a few projects in Florida, but, The State LA Board said No, that I would have to take and pass their State LA Exam. I explained that I had previously been Licensed in Florida for 10 years and would like to be reinstated…they still refused. They even told me they had no records that I was EVER Licensed as an LA in The State of Florida. Really, I still have the Original LA License in my possession…I e-mailed the Board a photo copy of it.

    In further research, I learned that I had MORE experience as a Landscape Architect than every member of that Florida State Board….10 years in Florida, 30 yrs. in Texas and several years in 12 other States. I actually, personally stood in front of that Florida State Board (about 8 members)…they were very disrespectful. Though, one male member spoke up and felt maybe the Board should make an exception, due to my experience level…and I could hear some of the female members…trying to shhhhhhhh the guy; so, he backed off. I’ve heard of “Dog and Pony shows”, but, I’ve actually never been a part of one until then.

    I did apply for and received a Temporary LA License so that I could design a major Multi-Family Development near the campus of The University of Florida.

    Besides some of the LAs who work for a few MAJOR LA Firms in Florida (like EDSA and a few others)…IMO, most LAs in Florida ONLY design Planting Plans.

    I wish all of you the BEST OF LUCK on the Florida Exam. Once you do pass that EXAM…be sure you stay on top of the required “Continuing Education” requirements (keep records) and always pay your annual LA License dues in a timely manner.

    I truly HOPE that the current State of Florida LA Board is more “professional” than the one I had to deal with several years ago.



    I tend to agree with much of what you have suggested here, Jeff.

    Though, I will add this…..The reason I always contacted local “Landscape Contracting Companies” is to not only ask their help in putting together a “plant palette” that works for that location, but also, I needed to know the “installed unit costs” for all plants, trees, grass, steel edging, etc. I would ensure that I would keep that (cost info. – confidential) and be sure to get their company on the bid list. A vast majority of my Out-Of-State projects were major Multi-Family developments – $30 to $50 Million developments; so, those Landscape Contracts were very cooperative.

    I only had maybe 2 or 3 projects in my 40 plus LA career that did NOT have a “budget”, so, getting “installed unit costs” was important…to ensure that I designed within my client’s budget/s. Same deal for hardscape materials, swimming pools, water features, etc.

    Yes, Nurseries would be another good source (but, my thinking is that “some” of those nurseries are going to want to sell or market what they have in stock.

    For me, going to an out of State city in person to develop a plant palette wasn’t very practical, as I was designing from Texas and designing projects in Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, etc. But, yes, I do agree, visiting an out of State City in person would be the best option (I would think you’d have to allow for the cost of a trip in your design fee).


    With all due respect, everyone here is entitled to his/her opinion. But, as for California…50% of California residences are considering living the State (and, many of those are millennials). Major complaint is the high cost of housing. CNBC wrote an article and shows the #1 State to do business in is Texas…California ranks @ #25.

    I admit I don’t know a lot about Kuwait. My Son in Law told me he didn’t care for it. Temperatures in the Summer can reach 130 degrees. No income tax, but, goods are shipped in, so, they are pricey. There is a sense of what might be interpreted as “racism” or at least “elitism”, where the wealthy look down on the less fortunate. Traffic is terrible at all hours of the day…even well after midnight. People liter the streets. But, I feel sure there are MANY very positives about living and working in Kuwait…I just think anyone considering relocating to Kuwait OR any other foreign Nation do a lot of research, before they make that leap.


    Funny, jeff…..OK, you and other young LA grads can just live at home with Mommy and Daddy during their first 5 to 8 yrs. of their design career in those high cost of living markets…then, move to “better” location. I see there are several LA jobs on the LAND 8 job market list – bet NONE of those employers are paying higher than normal salaries (to help compensate new hires for the high cost of living in those areas).

    Really, you get what you pay for??? Cost of Single Family Homes in The State of California are ridiculous too. Wonder how many years an LA has to be in our career to be able to afford a home out there? Can you say “over-priced”! Why are so many people and businesses moving OUT of California & New York. Many reasons, but, the #1 & #2 reasons are high State Income Taxes & high cost of living.


    No, Jeff…I do not have any type of “negative” motivation to write what I have about accepting an LA job in Los Angeles.

    However, young LA’s should be aware…no matter what city of State they are considering accepting a job.

    In LA County, the Average rent for a 1 bedroom Apartment is $2,546.00. Let’s compare that with the Dallas – Ft. Worth area…where it’s between $900 and $1,000.00…a really nice 1 bedroom apt. for about $1,200.00. For a young LA earning say $53,000.00 annually in California, they must pay 9.3% State Income Tax (or approx. $4,700.00). Add the “cost of living expenses”, like food, gasoline, utilities and IMO, California is a bit of a burden on an LA, especially one who is beginning their design career. BTW, The State of Texas has ZERO State Income Taxes and gasoline is now sitting @ $2.57 per gallon.

    It’s a FACT, that Liberal cities like LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City are dealing with major debt. I’m just being a “realist”. There are good LA jobs across the Country…..so, WHY burden yourself living in a city/state where your Annual Income is being negatively impacted.

    Hey, I was born in Long Beach, California…great State to “visit”. But, the Liberal politicians are ruining that State!

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