The Path To Profitability

Like many disciplines within the design and planning realm, landscape architecture is starting to rebound after several stagnant years.

Green roofs are attractive, ecologically friendly, and can improve a client’s bottom line. Photos Courtesy Of American Society Of Landscape Architects

The recession of 2009 and the subsequent halting recovery were tough on most architectural/engineering (A/E) firms, but it looks like the profession is starting to see growth again.

In fact, many landscape architects believe the industry’s recovery will be more rapid than other A/E disciplines.

One of the driving forces of the nation’s recovery from “The Great Recession” was a renewed focus on sustainability. With help from the federal government, a new commitment to sustainable energy and green technology has taken root in the overall economic infrastructure.

Landscape architecture is a natural beneficiary of this newfound commitment to sustainability because it is at the very core of the discipline.

Landscape architecture isn’t just about decorating or “greening up” properties or urban areas; rather, the foundation of the profession is built upon creating sustainable infrastructures that promote healthier development of all types.

Designed landscapes can prevent soil erosion around buildings and other developed areas, clean storm-water runoff by filtering contaminants, encourage groundwater recharge, and offer valuable shade to protect buildings and people. All of this is in addition to the aesthetic benefits that are readily apparent.

But how can we transform this historic culture of sustainability into business success? The answer can be found partly in what we do, and partly in how we market what we do.

Not all landscape architects have embraced the “green revolution.” For those who haven’t, it is time to reorient their firms to be greener, providing services that actively promote sustainability.

Firms that aren’t in a position to focus on sustainability should partner with firms that are green leaders and know how to translate the basic elements of landscape architecture into more sustainable designs and approaches.

And once firms do this, they need to know how to promote their commitment to sustainability to appeal to clients who want to pursue more environmentally friendly development.

Public and private developers are looking for designers who can make their projects more sustainable because it is both good citizenship and good business. When buildings or campuses are cleaner and operate more efficiently, owners save money in the day-to-day operations.

Landscape architecture can be one of the most important drivers of sustainability, and as a result, can provide significant benefits to owners’ bottom lines.

How Landscape Architects Promote Sustainability

One important way to promote sustainability is through the creation of biofiltration swales comprised of grasses and durable plants that can withstand the most extreme conditions.

Landscape architects need to learn how to market sustainability to their clients. Photo Courtesy Of American Society Of Landscape Architects

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