#LifeatStewart / Top 5 Myths About Landscape Architects

April 18th / 2017

Top 5 Myths About Landscape Architects

By: Matt Evans, Landscape Designer II


1 – They work outside.

Alright, so maybe you didn’t think that all landscape architects work outside (or did you?), but believe it or not, that is a common comment I hear in conversations that start with the phrase, “So what do you do for a living?” The truth is, before I decided to pursue a career in landscape architecture, I thought I would spend about a third to half of my time in the field, but that is hardly the case as my un-tanned face would clearly betray. The amount of time “in the field” varies widely depending on the project and on the role of the landscape architect in his or her firm, but generally, landscape architects spend most of their days behind computer monitors designing the world, or in meetings talking about designing the world.

2 – Spring is their ‘busy’ season.

Nope. It’s not. This is another comment I hear a lot, especially from well-meaning extended family. Most projects take many months, if not years to plan and execute, thus eliminating the aspect of seasonality. There are many phases to project design, and most projects require review and approval by city or state agencies. This tends to expand a project design schedule from weeks to months. Also, once the design phase is completed, the project may only be half-way over. We still have to build it, folks!

3 – They have green thumbs.

Mine are actually blue most of the time. Instead of working with plants, most of my time is spent drawing and re-drawing spaces, and for that, I use my trusty blue pencil. Planting design and maintenance is something landscape architects know a thing or two about, but it is only one aspect of the job. The truth is, there are many people out there who are really good with plants and planting design. Landscape architects specialize in outdoor places and integrating plants with the overall design goals of those spaces.

4 – All male landscape architects have beards.

So, this myth might be true. Maybe not a full beard, but definitely some type of facial hair.

5 – They don’t get along with civil engineers.

Definitely not true, at least here at Stewart. Engineers and designers approach problem solving differently, possess different skill sets, and have different roles in project design, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get along. In fact, when working together, these different points of view makes projects better. That is why here at Stewart we have Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering combined into one service line. To make this relationship successful, we have had to work on understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses and learn to communicate effectively. One tool that we often use is the design charrette (or workshop). This is a great way to work through many aspects of a project quickly in order to better understand the design problem and possible solutions. Another way we learn to get along is by going out for a beer. Beer is a common ground and creates many synergies; however, it is best consumed after project deadlines are met.

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