Archive for the ‘RESIDENTIAL’ Category

Maybe you’ve noticed things have been a bit more lively here at the  Landscape Architecture Magazine blog of late, and you’d be right. In addition to cranking up our posting to twice a week (!), we’ve been thinking a bit about what we might do to expand our audience and create more of a community of landscape-minded readers.  There are many changes afoot that will be rolled out in 2014, but we’d like your help with some low-hanging fruit, namely our blog roll.

Yes, the blog roll is a venerated tradition in the webs, but often it just becomes a mutual linkfest that highlights the same five well-known news aggregators over and over. We’d like to do something more substantial, and we’d like your help, friendly reader.

Our current blog roll (over on the right—->>) is pretty good, but some of our favorites aren’t posting so much anymore and our sense is that there are a lot more landscape-oriented blogs out there than there were a year ago when we first made the list. That’s where we’d like your help.

So tell us your favorite landscape blogs in the comments below.  We’re interested in original content, rather than aggregators, and we’re curious about anything that shapes landscape, from agriculture to climate to infrastructure to policy to design theory to design tech.  

Here are some we’ve been reading lately–

Rust Wire. Always a fave. News and urban grit from the rust belt.

BakkenBlog. North Dakota oil and gas.

Big Picture Agriculture. Perspectives on ag policy, food, science.

The Prairie Ecologist. Notes on prairie ecology, restoration, and management.

Small Streets Blog. Life at a plausible scale.

Gizmodo. New life under Geoff Manaugh of bldgblog, but you knew that.

Garden Rant. Various garden-related posts with a strong point of view.

99% Invisible. Blog to accompany the excellent design-oriented podcast.

What are you reading and liking? Suggest blogs in the comments or on Twitter @LandArchMag.

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PA-239-02This column appears in the May 2013 issue of LAM.

In the interest of public health, this issue should probably carry an antihistamine with it. Our feature stories this month all involve residential landscape architecture projects, wonderful projects, each quite different and with its peculiar challenges and virtues. But the thought of designing gardens around the places people actually live, categorically, seems to cause itching, swelling, and citations of Thorstein Veblen among some landscape architects. I have witnessed this reaction more times than I can recall, though in each case, I am glad to report, the victim has fairly quickly resumed his or her normal activities.

There is a charming fiction in the design world that private work, especially residential work, and especially residential work for anyone living at or above 200 percent of the poverty line, is decadent and unworthy of professional regard. The parallel belief is that all public work is good and righteous for designers to do, and about that there is little doubt, though the case is oversimplified. Ask anyone who’s done public work.

Private work and public work are like fresh pasta and dried pasta, as Gillian Riley has it in the Oxford Companion to Italian Food. One is not better than the other. They are different. Because private clients are often rich, they tend to be open to new ideas, artistic, ecological, or otherwise (they can also drive you crazy). Surely most of us are with Daniel Libeskind in his recent pronouncement that you should not build gleaming streets for despots. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It is perfectly okay to do design work for someone who on their own has made something happen without harm to anyone and has made money as a result. There is a no-fly zone over much of Wall Street, direct mail entrepreneurs, and a certain evil Australian media magnate, but a designer has to use the sixth sense to figure out just who the client is.

Nearly 80 percent of private firms run by ASLA members offer residential design services. This work makes up more than one-third of private sector billable hours. It is far and away the largest market subsector. The domestic front, particularly designing for what you might call the permanently rich, brought a lot of firms through the recession. Many of the landscape architects who do both private and public work will tell you that in their offices the private work pays for the public work. The public work, high-minded as it is, often pays low margins and it increases the number of clients from a couple to a couple of hundred or more. Residential projects are where a lot of designers try the novel things that, if they work, make their public projects better. Still, some designers recoil at the thought of something they consider too close to housework. There’s a T-shirt for sale online by the Landscape Architects Network that says, “I’m a landscape architect and I won’t design your garden.” Good for a laugh, I guess, but not great for business. You may have heard the sentiment elsewhere and noted the need for heroics it carries—besides, who does not love gardens?—and the obliviousness to how the economics of this profession play out in reality.

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Source: ASLA

All through the recent downturn, residential clients kept landscape architects afloat better than just about any other clients. So we care about what they care about! And what they care about most right now is quite clear in ASLA’s 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey. See the full details here.

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