Gene Gross of Denver Colorado is an architectural engineer focused on green design initiatives. Naturally, his work brings the opportunity to partner with other trades involved in a given project, and more and more, that includes specialists in landscape architecture.
Everyone is familiar with architects; they design buildings and infrastructure, but what exactly is involved with landscape architecture?
Gene Gross explains below what you need to know about landscape architecture, including what a landscape architect does and even some current trends that are affecting this industry.
What is Meant by Landscape Architecture?
Landscape architecture is the study and practice of designing environments, both interiors and exteriors, according to Gene Gross of Denver Colorado. A landscape architect designs environments, creating both attractive and functional spaces, which range from parks to residential areas and even college campuses. A landscape architect is trained and licensed to design, which means that they collaborate with builders to work together to complete the vision.
What Projects Can Entail
Landscape architects can take on various projects in which they analyze, plan, design, and construct the final vision. Projects can go from overhauling a whole area, including digging and reconstructing land, to simply adding aesthetical pieces, such as lighting.
Gene Gross explains that these projects can vary from a city-wide redesign to small details. For example, whole cities and towns can be designed, but so can ponds to make them more enticing to frogs and other creatures.
Some projects might be:
- Urban design
- Creating public parks
- Making a green belt
- Community gardens
- Living roofs and roof gardens
The Landscape Architecture Process
No matter what the project details are, the process of landscape architecture is lengthy and detailed. These steps include:
- An initial consultation.
- A proposal/ brief for the design.
- Analyzing the site and deciding resources needed.
- Concept design: This is a proposal that works with the client and gets all the documents needed in order.
- Design development or a more detailed design.
- Construction documentation: This is when a schedule for the project is decided with all the paperwork in order, including a proposed budget and detailed documents for every step.
- Construction: Gene Gross explains that this is the stage where the vision is brought to life. This is a lengthy process going from demolition, building, installing services, and any finishing touches.
- Post-Construction Evaluation: This is an important step for a landscape architect that allows for an evaluation of how the space functions and how effective it is. This can be analyzed in the months or even years following the finished design, whether anecdotal or written.
Qualifications of Landscape Architects
Becoming a landscape architect is a rigorous process. Usually, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is necessary to enter into the profession. An undergraduate degree can take four or five years to complete.
Gene Gross of Denver Colorado says that while undertaking either of these courses, most professionals will recommend completing a summer internship to gain experience in the field and make landing a post-graduate job easier. There are also courses to further develop skills and earn a higher salary.
Trends Affecting Landscape Architecture
While certain project needs never go out of style (lighting and terrain design, for example), there are several new trends that are affecting the industry and the types of projects that landscape architects are working on today.
The impact of climate change and the increasing focus on the importance of the environment has impacted how landscapes are designed. Architects are tasked with working with the planet, not against it, leading to reduced deforestation and excavation work.
Some examples of what we can expect are irrigation systems reusing rainwater and gardens designed to promote wildlife and encourage pollination. These trends are especially pertinent following Cop-26 and local equivalents, according to Gross.
Landscape architects are still in demand despite COVID-19’s impact on the United States workforce. Professionals in this industry have noticed an increase in outdoor spaces, pop-up places, and private and public garden projects since early 2020.
As a result of time spent indoors during lockdown and a need to meet publicly while adhering to strict safety precautions, people are seeking outdoor spaces. This means that more people are meeting in parks and outdoor cafes rather than close-quarter, indoor restaurants.
Landscape architects are hired to design outdoor spaces that will entice people of all ages, and they’ll continue working with businesses on how they can create more outdoor seating at their businesses to meet this trend.
Gardening for the soul began long before 2020. However, Gene Gross expects wellbeing gardens to continue being in demand for landscape architects, as many people developed a passion for gardening during lockdown.
What makes these spaces special is that landscape architects design them to be multipurpose areas for yoga, meditation, exercise, and growing fruits and vegetables.
We’re even starting to see workspaces begin creating these wellbeing gardens in their office buildings to bring employees back to working in the traditional office.
Landscape architecture might be influenced by some unique trends as a result of climate change and a demand for outdoor spaces, but the need for beautiful, functional, and safe landscaping designs will remain.
Gene Gross of Denver Colorado is looking forward to seeing how these landscaping architecture trends continue over the next few years. Regardless, there will still be many opportunities to study landscape architecture at master’s level at a university in the United States, and architects in this field will continue to have a range of specialized projects to choose from throughout their long careers.