Surveys are a good way to gauge how a large population feels about certain topics, and the American Society of Landscape Architects used that method to determine the top regions in which landscape architects prefer to work.
The largest number of respondents, at 30 percent, were from the West, while the Midwest, East and South each represented about 20 percent. Only 6 percent of the respondents worked internationally.
The qualities landscape architects value most in an area include the variety and number of opportunities available, level of growth, an active community of other landscape architects, and places where landscape architects’ work is valued.
Most respondents did not feel that one city or region was better than the other.
“Location does not matter,” one respondent wrote. “Excited clients matter.”
Here’s a breakdown of the perks of working in certain areas, based on observations submitted by the landscape architects who responded to the survey:
“We have distinct seasons, but not to extremes. People are open to innovation and trying things.”
Others mention variety and freedom paired with a focus on environmental planning.
“Seattle has a dynamic community of landscape architects as well as interested laypeople.”
California – Bay Area
The Bay Area is praised for its culture and appreciation for art and ideas. The weather and positive attitudes are just some of the reasons landscape architects like working here.
“Large progressive market, people want to improve their public spaces, lots of opportunities.”
“In Los Angeles, design thinking is embraced everywhere and design exploration and experimentation are encouraged.”
Those working in Southern California praise the wide plant palette available and the population’s constant presence outdoors, allowing their work to be appreciated and used.
In the mountains, there is geographic diversity with both peaks and valleys. Good weather coupled with solid soils and breathtaking views are some of the perks of this region.
“It offers a simple vernacular and botanical palette with the potential for infinite variation.”
The landscape architects who reside in the Midwest have a special fondness for the region, as it is where most of them grew up, but they also cite the quality of life and the practicality of customers as other positives.
“Being able to produce good designs to improve places that have been built for the automobile.”
An abundance of water, varying biomes and challenging seasons also can be expected in this area, the respondents said.
New York City
The feedback from the Big Apple represents something of a paradox. Some say the possibilities are unlimited and clients regularly demonstrate a willingness to try anything. Others, however, cited the challenges of working under multiple constraints.
The urban environment is definitely polarizing, but the river setting is a plus for some.
“Within 150-mile radius from the New York City metro area, there is a range of project types from city to farm.”
The range of seasons and landscape characteristics in this region are broad enough to keep landscape architects on their toes. The historical background of the area is prevalent and seen often in the architecture, including today’s designs.
“Designs must capture and create year-round interest, even more so than in other places. Also they have really nice native stone.”
Landscape architects in the Southeast appreciate the public’s respect for their profession and how quickly things can grow, offering faster results.
“The Southeast has a great planting palette and the right amount of regulation to provide plenty of landscape, but not over regulated to tie the designer’s hands too much to (preclude) anything fun.”
Locations like Hilton Head, South Carolina, the Virginia Tidewater area, Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry are praised for their consideration for nature and having a passion for the landscape.
For those who like a challenge, the Southwest might be an option. It is said to require creativity with its limited plant palette and harsh environment.
“People think the desert is void of life, but it has incredible plant and wildlife ecosystems – it’s dramatic and subtle at the same time. So many hidden treasures!”