April 5, 2007

Celebrate National Landscape Architecture Month

  • This year, the focus is on careers in landscape architecture.
    ASLA Washington chapter


    The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has proclaimed April 2007 as National Landscape Architecture Month. ASLA chapters across the country will celebrate with public outreach activities to help individuals “Discover Careers in Landscape Architecture,” the theme for this year.

    The month encompasses Earth Day on April 22 and the birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted on April 26, who founded the landscape architecture profession in America.

    Getting the word out

    In Washington state, we are fortunate to have accredited programs in landscape architecture at the University of Washington and Washington State University. And unlike some states, such as North Dakota, we get to keep most of our graduates because they are in high demand. Washington firms are working both nationally and internationally. Employment opportunities are also strong with local governmental agencies.

    “National Landscape Architecture Month provides a great opportunity for ASLA members to introduce landscape architecture to students in their communities,” said Pat Caughey, ASLA president. “With sustained growth in demand projected for landscape architecture services, there are major opportunities for young people considering entering the profession. It’s a very good time to be a landscape architect.”

    Photo courtesy of Otak
    Otak designed this section of landscaping on the Interurban Trail in Shoreline.

    I recently asked a group of landscape architecture students and professionals how they happened to become interested in our profession and several told me that they were already enrolled in college when they flipped through the course catalog and chanced upon landscape architecture. Our goal is to introduce landscape architecture to high school students as a career opportunity that blends design with natural sciences and social science and engineering. No other profession has the responsibility of ensuring the beneficial coexistence of human and natural systems.

    Big demand

    According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscape architecture is the fastest growing of all the design professions. The latest ASLA National Salary and Business Indicator Surveys support that projection, showing the average base salary and bonuses for landscape architects is up 20 percent from 2004 — and firm billings are up by 10 percent over the previous survey. The demand for landscape architecture services is projected to expand 18 percent to 26 percent by the year 2014. To meet this demand, the number of graduates in landscape architecture programs needs to grow by an average of 6 percent each year.

    ASLA is working with the ACE Mentor Program to reach high school students, and with the Cultural Landscape Foundation to target middle school students through its Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms program.

    ASLA chapter events will be held throughout the month of April. More information on National Landscape Architecture Month and on local events can be found at and

    About ASLA

    Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 17,000 members. Washington ASLA has over 350 members throughout the state.

    Forty-eight states, including Washington, have licensing laws for landscape architects. Washington ASLA is in the process of upgrading our title act law to a full practice act type legislation.

    Curtis LaPierre is president of the Washington chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and an associate with Otak.

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