Skip to main content
3 answers
4
Updated 507 views

What are some common mistakes people encounter when entering the landscape architect business?

And how do you handle the mistakes? have you had any of these experiences?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

4

3 answers


1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Kendall’s Answer

Many people don't really know what landscape architecture is or what being a landscape architect entails. Having practiced as a landscape designer and landscape architect for 10+ years I still get questions such as:
- what do you do in the winter when it snows?
- so you maintain and plant all the landscaping, right?
- why do my trees look dead?

It's like describing an architect as someone who cleans buildings... a janitor. As defined by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), landscape architecture involves the planning, design, management, and nurturing of the built and natural environment. Landscape architects work can provide small, simple landscape designs but often work on large, complex masterplanning and construction projects in conjunction with architects and engineers to create sustainable environments and healthy, livable, communities. Projects can take months or years to complete, so a landscape architect's workload isn't heavily affected by the winter.



Thank you comment icon What a great response, Kendall! Especially the janitor analogue. I try to tell students, though: don’t be disheartened if, when asked your profession, you hear “oh, my cousin used to be into that.” This used to make me defensive until I realized a simple truth: the folks who need our services- the clients- know very well who we are and what we do. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a good definition of our profession. The ASLA attempt makes my eyes glaze over. Michael Spencer
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Rajeev’s Answer

As a licensed professional mechanical engineer practicing in 16 states for 51 years, let me put a different spin on the answer. Calvin is a student. He is not asking for a job description of a PLA or why customers assume they are lawnmowers. "Mistakes a Landscape Architect should avoid" means: what should I do to beat the competition? Calvin is going to get the proper education, experience and licensure as a PLA. What next?

Recognize the scope and effect of your chosen profession. Do your part, nothing more, nothing less. Look at it this way. Say Wild Bill Hickock is planning to build a brand new town in Nebraska. He got funds from Doc Holiday. Launched design and construction. Now Bill hires a crew of gun-toting cowpokes to do several tasks in sequence. Grading is the first step; planning the landscape is the second; installing site utilities is the third.

Roadways are planned. Buildings are conceived and laid out. Individual structures are designed and erected. Where does the professional landscape architect (PLA) fit in the great scheme of things? He/she ensures that Wild Bill is not creating a concrete jungle like New York City. People like to be surrounded by trees, shrubs and lawns. At least 50% of the township, if not more, should consist of earth. The first principle is, go with the flow. Don't fool mother nature. If xeriscaping is the optimum choice, do it. If you could recycle wastewater and create an 18-golf course, do it. The most common mistake (to avoid) is asking the client ..... is this what you want? What is he paying you for. You make the choice.

The final pitfall is PRICING your services. When you first enter this business, you will be the new kid on the block. Nobody wants you around. They have their turfs established. Now you pose a new threat. How do you fight back? The answer is strategy. Underbid. Undercut. Lowball. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. So do a market research (hire a tupperware engineer for date processing) and bid any job at a disgustingly low price. From decades of estimating experience, I can tell you that if you true cost of doing business is 100 dollars, you will bid the job at 230 dollars. That is why 100% off sales at Macy's still generate a 30% profit. Be ruthless in undercutting the competition by bidding low. Your will have the next 5-10 years to recover. Make sure you remain solvent and have a FICO credit rating above 580 at all times.

Hope this helps.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Diana’s Answer

Hi there,

I am not an architect so I cannot answer your question for the specific industry, but what I can tell you is this, you will find mistakes in any kind of business you decide to enter the labor market. The important thing is not to lose your cool. Don't feel discourage and instead of worrying just find the solution for that mistake. Otherwise, just move on. Things sometimes are not easy, but the reward is priceless.
0