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ryde307
10-22-2009, 09:12 PM
I am a company owner been in business for a while mostly in the lawncare and irrigation side of things. We have made a move more towards the landscaping side of things now. Anyways I have a alright knowledge of landscape installation and design. What I am wondering is where did you learn design in the sense of actually putting it on paper? Such as drawings and things. I am at the point where we could grow alot more if I was better in this aspect of the business. Just curious if you have any tips or places to look thanks.

Smallaxe
10-23-2009, 03:42 AM
The professionals are using computer programs now, that actually can place trees, shrubs, stones, or turf, etc. right on a picture. This gives you a great tool for the customer that has a hard time 'Envisioning' what you are trying to describe.

Otherwise - trees are 'big circles', shrubs are smaller, and a wavy line can denote turf. Just do whatever communicates best. Good Luck. :)

My biggest problem is that I do not have conventional tastes. I work for "Squares", man...

Dreams To Designs
10-23-2009, 09:57 AM
The technical aspect of design can be learned from books or classes taught at adult high school or technical school programs or some colleges and universities offer professional development short courses. There are also design courses taught via the internet that maybe of some value. A strong horticultural knowledge coupled with an understanding of the landscape in terms of soil, drainage, elevation, hardscapes, water features and anything else that applies to the outdoors is vital to good design.

A computer program is simply a digital pencil and a presentation tool. A program will not help you design, but may make your ideas easier to understand. The method as to which you convey your ideas is not as important as the ideas, but pretty colors will help you sell more.

When your company has a need that maybe over your skill level or time allowance, consult the services of a designer or landscape architect. You can work with them and learn from them and perhaps only need their services in the future for the really big jobs. You will learn a great deal about design, if you work with someone that has some training in landscape design, but you will have to pay close attention.

The art of design is something that cannot really be taught. It is either a gift you already have or a skill you are willing to put fort the time and effort to acquire. Many never master the art of design, but do quite well with landscapes within their limitations.

Kirk

ryde307
10-23-2009, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the replies. I know of the computer programs and such and I feel I have an alright grasp on landscape design and plants. It is normally easy for me to walk onto a property and listen to what a person is looking for read there taste by looking around and visualize my interpretation of that. My problem is getting it from my head to paper or another way to comunicate it to them. As of now I do use other designers and get help from many other in the industry often. Its a long boring winter so I have been spending lots of time looking for classes/school to get better at the areas I feel I'm lacking.

Dreams To Designs
10-23-2009, 10:51 AM
ryde, excellent use of your down time. I do the same, always searching for new and original information as well as time tested ideas. Fortunately, here in New Jersey, we have a professional education program offered at the stae university, Rutgers. They offer winter short courses from the basics to the highly technical, taught by industry professionals and professors. I have been told that many states offer similar landscape programs, so you may want to check with the state university.
http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/programs/landscape.html

If your looking at software, every landscape design software company offers some sort of introductory and advanced training classes. These programs aren't about design, but using that company's software. The classes do well to allow you the maximum use of the software you intend or have purchased. Google Sketchup offers a free imaging program that many hardscapers use to present and sell their paver and stone ideas, including walls. It allows your client to get a decent visual representation of your ideas and design as well as color or product choices. Some of the better design programs, like Pro Landscape, offer specific products in photo-realistic imaging.

Kirk


Kirk

AGLA
10-23-2009, 02:10 PM
How do you best learn. Are you a reader, or a hands on kind of guy? Do you do best when being shown how to do things?

ryde307
10-23-2009, 02:39 PM
very much a hands on. You can tell me don't do that its going to hurt but I won't believe you until I try and actually get hurt. So very hands on learner.
Dreams to designs thanks for the responses. The University of Minnesota actually is very big in the green industry and they do offer classes and there arboreteum is on of the best. Its 5 miles from my house. I spend time going there and reviewing plants and such. Just wish the offerd better classes geared towards people in our industry better our knowledge not so much kids looking for a degree.

White Gardens
10-23-2009, 11:34 PM
DreamsToDesign has given you some great advice.

One thing to think of also is that if you acquire some basic landscaping design principals, then you can actually understand how some existing landscapes around your area were designed and installed. Ultimately you can see what other companies have done and not necessarily steel their ideas, but use some of the same principals in your own designs.

I use Pro Landscapes by Drafix. The only reason I knew how to use a program like that is from publishing and graphic design classes that I took in High School. Most of the functions are very similar to Adobe and Microsoft publishing programs.

Chilehead
10-23-2009, 11:44 PM
Make sure you receive the proper licensing. here in GA, I once drew up a design for a client that happened to be an engineer. I did not charge him for the design, just the landscape work. Wouldn't you know that the first day I am on the job, he has several officers and city agents waiting there to issue me a fine and cease-and-desist order. I was really surprised. While there, the city's civil engineer tells me that a design can't be sold to a client without proper licensing. When I told him that I was not charging a fee for it, he said that I was not even allowed to draw one up for free if I am charging to do the work. I had to pay $1000.00. Yup, you better be a licensed architect and/or at least check the laws in your state.

Steiner
10-24-2009, 12:12 AM
Take it for what its worth. Designing landscapes is about 3 things in my mind.

1. Knowing core design principles like grouping plants, shapes, formal vs. informal design, balance, unity, color etc.

2. Knowing the plants, their placements, and their needs. Soil knowledge and a good soil sampler.

3. Knowing how to use the software to present it.

In my opinion number 3 is the easiest to master. Go to a art supply place, get some plastic templates, a few markers, squares and good quality drafting tools. There is something comforting about a real, and I mean real, drafting table and the results it produces. Only my best customers get my hand drawn work. When you get good, switch over to a pro software program; you will never look back.

Number 1 can be gleaned from books or by simply observing others work and critique it. Everywhere I go I look at other's landscape and I critique, think about and study what was done, and I look for ways to improve. Look for design books on landscape. I have a few great books and I read them all the time. Basically, if you are mindful, and you love it, you will be a master.

Number 2 is the hard part. Plant knowledge is a huge body of core knowledge, it's immense. Read books, go to suppliers, look up every plant you see. What I did, was hire a good horticulturist and from time to time pick his brain, and I also started my own plant book (binder with sleeves) for customers. Every time I use a new plant I create a new picture page that lists history, names, soil and sun requirements, and every other attribute. And now I have a pretty good handle on plants, and every day I get better. That book makes plants easy for customers, and I am learning plants at an incredible rate.

My typical design process: Yes, it's a process.

1. Observe site alone
2. Let customers talk, ask open ended questions, ask what plants they like and hate. All while walking on entire property. (think sales)
3. Look at beds close up, check soil and light conditions. Feel soil. Look for downspouts or other issues.
4. Look at beds far away for perspective, balance, unity, shape etc.
5. Have clients look through plant books, explain plants and see if their eyes gleam. Show them formal and informal complete landscapes and see what they are drawn to. Get a commitment.
6. Site measurements.
7. Rough sketches. Thought.
8. Refine hand drawings. Thought. Mount on matte boards.
9. Sketchup 3-D software. Thought.
10. Presentation
11. Revisions and so on and so on..........More thought.

AGLA
10-24-2009, 05:57 PM
very much a hands on. You can tell me don't do that its going to hurt but I won't believe you until I try and actually get hurt. So very hands on learner.
Dreams to designs thanks for the responses. The University of Minnesota actually is very big in the green industry and they do offer classes and there arboreteum is on of the best. Its 5 miles from my house. I spend time going there and reviewing plants and such. Just wish the offerd better classes geared towards people in our industry better our knowledge not so much kids looking for a degree.

Close down your own operation and work for a few good companies that do what you really want to do. I say a few because different guys do things in different ways and you don't learn if you only no one way.

If you are not a book learner, you know you won't get far by taking books out of the library.

If school never did much for you before, why would it all of a sudden now?

Remember that it is not that easy to learn from people who don't know more than the student. Logically, it would follow that teaching yourself means that you expect to learn more than the teracher knows.

A hands on learner needs to work for others in order to advance - then start your own thing knowing more than you do now.

Hanau
10-24-2009, 06:05 PM
The University of Idaho has a Landscape Architecture program.

http://www.caa.uidaho.edu/larch/

If you're serious UofI is a great place to study, Moscow is a great place to live, and I'm a great guy to work for.

AGLA
10-24-2009, 08:18 PM
... and I hold a degree in LA from that very school!

Hanau
10-24-2009, 08:24 PM
Amazing, you must not be a smart guy since you left Idaho.

See, even dummies can get a degree from UofI!

LOL.

How's the Cape treating you?

AGLA
10-24-2009, 08:59 PM
What are you saying?

Hanau
10-24-2009, 09:02 PM
Just messing with you, I think Idaho is awesome and was poking a little fun at you for leaving.

What year did you graduate?

AGLA
10-24-2009, 09:11 PM
'97

I used to work for Jon Decker when I was in school. Then I worked for Frank Bennett for a couple of years. Do you know them?

I lived in Moscow for a couple ofyears and Deary for four.

Hanau
10-24-2009, 09:16 PM
Frank Bennett of Bennett Realty? Big fish around here. Jon Decker owns Crossroads Realty doesn't he?

Deary is getting bigger, 5 acre lots in the country. Picking up a bit of work out of there.

Ever been to Genesee? That's where I reside.

AGLA
10-24-2009, 09:36 PM
Bennett of Bennett Lumber Products and East Side Marketplace (daughter has Bennett Real Estate - I think she renamed it to Team Idaho or something like that). Jon owned Crossroads Nursery, Moscow Landscaping, and Raindrop Sprinkler - I don't know if he is now in real estate or not.

Hanau
10-24-2009, 09:54 PM
With connections like that you could have done well out here.

AGLA
10-24-2009, 10:06 PM
The opportunities are a bit limited in Landscape Architecture in such a small town. I'll send you a PM and give theseguys back their thread.

thegrassisgreener
12-13-2009, 05:14 PM
Make sure you receive the proper licensing. here in GA, I once drew up a design for a client that happened to be an engineer. I did not charge him for the design, just the landscape work. Wouldn't you know that the first day I am on the job, he has several officers and city agents waiting there to issue me a fine and cease-and-desist order. I was really surprised. While there, the city's civil engineer tells me that a design can't be sold to a client without proper licensing. When I told him that I was not charging a fee for it, he said that I was not even allowed to draw one up for free if I am charging to do the work. I had to pay $1000.00. Yup, you better be a licensed architect and/or at least check the laws in your state.

Your posting peaked my curiosity and prompted me to investigate my state's laws(Tennesee) concerning "landscape architecture" laws and provisions.
According to TN.gov's website:http://www.tn.gov/commerce/boards/ae/bldgDesReqs.shtml#Qualification It appears there are some exemptions in Tennessee that if you are designing/building landscapes for single-family dwellings and certain classes of business structures less that 5000 gross square feet; a landscape architecture license is not required. This caused me to assume that the law must not be much different in neighboring Georgia. It appears there are some exceptions in Georgia Landscape Architect law, 43-23-17. The link that includes the Georgia Landscape Architect law and its exceptions is at: http://sos.georgia.gov/acrobat/PLB/laws/04_Landscape_Architects_43-23.pdf In particular, the law provides exceptions for "Any person whose services are offered solely as a gardener or nurseryman;" I'm not sure that since you probably offer other services as a LCO if you fit the exception or not, but definitely something to look into.

AGLA
12-13-2009, 09:56 PM
I'm a licensed landscape architect, but I really don't like unreasonable monopoly laws that some states have. I live in a state that only has what is called a "Title Act". This means that the license allows you to call yourself a landscape architect and what you do can be called landscape architecture. Anyone can do the things that landscape architects do, but can not call it landscape architecture. Some communities, HOAs, or other entities may require stamped plans by landscape architects for certain projects (however, most find that there are not as many around as they thought, so they add provisions like "other qualified designers").

What you are talking about is what is called a "Practice Act" which only allows a licensed person to practice landscape architecture. Most of those that I have read have enough exemptions that pretty much make them pretty close to worthless at keeping others from designing landscapes. There are some good things in some Practice Acts that don't screw landscapers, but give added abilities to LAs. Some allow LAs to design some road drainage or other light civil engineering type work, some survey work related to their own work, and/or some architectural design - all of these were previously reserved only to those other professions. I do like that, provided that the licensing requirements ensure competency in those practices.

Take a very thorough look at the exemptions of who may also do the work described in your states LA laws.

nlminc
12-13-2009, 11:21 PM
Your posting peaked my curiosity and prompted me to investigate my state's laws(Tennesee) concerning "landscape architecture" laws and provisions.
According to TN.gov's website:http://www.tn.gov/commerce/boards/ae/bldgDesReqs.shtml#Qualification It appears there are some exemptions in Tennessee that if you are designing/building landscapes for single-family dwellings and certain classes of business structures less that 5000 gross square feet; a landscape architecture license is not required. This caused me to assume that the law must not be much different in neighboring Georgia. It appears there are some exceptions in Georgia Landscape Architect law, 43-23-17. The link that includes the Georgia Landscape Architect law and its exceptions is at: http://sos.georgia.gov/acrobat/PLB/laws/04_Landscape_Architects_43-23.pdf In particular, the law provides exceptions for "Any person whose services are offered solely as a gardener or nurseryman;" I'm not sure that since you probably offer other services as a LCO if you fit the exception or not, but definitely something to look into.

There are people offering landscape design services all over my area and I know for a fact they are not LA's or licensed contractors.

This is what I pulled from the State of GA...off of your link.

I don't see how they could have fined Chil according to this??


43-23-17 Exceptions to operation of chapter.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) A contractor engaging in the business of or acting in the capacity of a contractor
or landscape contractor in this state, provided that he or she is the prime
contractor for the installation of his or her design. A contractor or landscape
contractor may not perform design services without also performing the
installation of said design;
(2) Any person whose services are offered solely as a gardener or nurseryman;

thegrassisgreener
12-14-2009, 12:58 AM
I find that puzzling myself. My main source of curiosity was finding out what exceptions and exemptions there were to this law in my state of Tennessee as contrasted to Georgia. In reading Georgia's Landscape Architecture law, I could understand the massive fine if one was presenting a build/design landscape quote to a large public works building but am failing to understand why this would warrant a cease and desist and hefty fine for presenting to a single-family homeowner? I read through many of the laws concerning Tennesee's stance on landscape architect exemptions and it seems that so long as I'm performing work for a single-family or two-family dwelling I am acting in full capacity of the law. Likewise, I may also perform landscape work for a business so long as it is not over two-stories tall and provided its gross square footage is less than 5000 square foot. Assembly, educational, hazardous storage, and any other business dwelling over 5000 square foot and two-stories talls are off limits without the proper landscape architecture license. It is all definitely good information to know. Next thing on my landscaping list is to get my landscaping certificate so I can get discounts from local nurseries.

AGLA
12-14-2009, 08:13 AM
Although the state law may not have exempted Chilehead, sometimes a city will have a requirement in certain zoning districts or on certain projects. When that is the case, my experience is that the design gets reviewed in the permitting process. I'm surprised that a project that would have inspectors circling around it like vultures did not have to have plans approved prior to installation.

My guess is that there probably was an approved set and Chile got hired by someone after the fact who did not want to implement the approved plan because it was costly. That would explain why the city was on alert - either the LA was pissed that his project was not going in, or the city knows the developer likes to take short cuts and was keeping a close eye on it.

Whenever a fine is issued quickly by a city, there is often some personal agenda by those issuing the fine - they either are getting back at someone who they don't like (sometimes because the developer is a scum bag, sometimes just because the city worker wants to stick it to someone who is successful), or helping someone else get or keep work. In any case, a fine should cite the actual ordinance that is being violated which should not leave any question that there was a violation.