Landscape Architecture Integrates Man-Made & Natural Environments
From parks and streetscapes to educational campuses and commercial developments, landscape architecture surrounds us — integrating the built world into the natural environment. This design discipline helps create unique and inviting spaces that provide notable benefits including, increased aesthetic appeal, stormwater management, and reduced energy costs. As we struggle to overcome some of the most significant 21st-century challenges, the landscape architecture profession is poised to provide sustainable, environmental solutions.
Raising Awareness of the Landscape Architecture Profession
To celebrate and raise awareness of the landscape architecture profession, we asked several seasoned members of our landscape architecture team to reflect on their career experiences, what provides their inspiration, and the unique challenges they’ve faced designing original and earth-friendly projects.
How would you describe the role landscape architecture plays in the world around us?
I believe the most important role of landscape architecture is to protect and enhance the aesthetic environment of our outdoor world. — Tim West, PLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect
We design spaces that influence how people experience places. Whether it’s a downtown streetscape or a median treatment in a suburban area, landscape architecture permeates these spaces to create unique experiences for the users. — Clay Schneckloth, PLA, Landscape Architect
Look around and you will see the impact of the landscape architecture profession. Whether you’ve walked on a trail or attended a concert in a downtown plaza, chances are a landscape architect played a role in making that area a reality. That is what makes the profession so important to society. — Monte Appelgate, PLA, Senior Project Manager
What is satisfying about being a landscape architect?
I like seeing a project start from an idea and grow into real space. It’s tremendously satisfying to see a space being used the way you designed it to be after it’s built. — Tim West, PLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect
Working with great people. Whether it’s a client, community leader, or coworker, it’s the people that make all projects worthwhile. — Monte Appelgate, PLA, Senior Project Manager
What challenges do landscape architects face?
We’re sometimes faced with short deadlines that can be challenging to meet. These challenges, however, have a tendency to bring out the best in our design team — with team members stepping up to get things done. — Clay Schneckloth, PLA, Landscape Architect
Working with new clients whether it’s a developer or community. Understanding their needs, goals, limitations, and how to best achieve a successful project. — Monte Appelgate, PLA, Senior Project Manager
What inspires you about the landscape architecture profession?
I enjoy working on projects with teams of different designers and professionals. I find these teams can challenge you to think differently about your design perspective and how it may be used or an alternative way it can be constructed. I feel like this pushes you to do better in your design work. — Tim West, PLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect
What is one landscape architecture project that you’re proud of and why?
I am incredibly proud of the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area in Iowa City. We overcame unique challenges and included cool features that turned the park into a true community destination. — Clay Schneckloth, PLA, Landscape Architect
What excites you about the future of landscape architecture?
As the world’s resources and open spaces get smaller, landscape architects will need to lead more design teams to minimize environmental impacts and create more efficient outdoor improvements. This will lead to more interest in environmental stewardship and more responsibility in project design. — Tim West, PLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect
Seeing more young people getting involved in the profession. Also, the increased respect from clients, city officials, and other design professionals for what landscape architects and their skill sets can bring to our built environment. — Monte Appelgate, PLA, Senior Project Manager
What wisdom would you share with someone just entering the landscape architecture profession or interested in pursuing it?
Get out and explore the world around you to experience the environment first-hand. And it may seem obvious, but visit all of your project sites before you start designing them. Often the natural world will help determine what the best design should be. — Tim West, PLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect
There are a wide variety of directions an individual can pursue, as it relates to Landscape Architecture. I would suggest starting your career with an internship to explore the possibilities the profession offers. This will help you determine the areas that you enjoy and are intrigued by the most. Another recommendation I have, if you are thinking about working for a design firm, is to consider a design-build position. They offer great opportunities for hands-on experience in the field. Understanding how things get built is invaluable knowledge to acquire, as it will make you a respected resource. — Clay Schneckloth, PLA, Landscape Architect
Keep an open mind when deciding what path you ultimately take in the profession. There are so many avenues to pursue whether public or private sector or staying within the educational field. Find what inspires you and go for it. — Monte Appelgate, PLA, Senior Project Manager