Day in the life of
Landscape Architect – Josh Daniel
Landscape architecture is a rewarding profession, and the practice of the craft is diverse. Landscape architects can specialize in many project types, ranging from residential design to larger planning efforts and all scales in between. The diversity of practice initially drew me to the profession, and it is what continues to excite me and keep me engaged. I work for a multi-disciplinary practice (Cooper Carry) and we offer clients a variety of services including architecture, interior design, company branding, and environmental graphics. Our landscape architecture group collaborates with and supports all of the practice studios. This means we get to work on K-12 schools, university campuses, office environments, and retail projects. Our workdays are as varied as our project types and we never have a repetitive week.
There are some constants in our work that include being the champions of the environment on all projects. We focus on how to manage landscapes successfully and sustainably and create new work that contributes to our clients’ and user’s health and well-being and considers the protection and quality improvement of all our natural resources – air, water, soil, and vegetation. We also must be learned generalists. Working with multiple professionals means that we need to understand and speak the language of all our design partners and share our own knowledge of the natural world to make for better designs.
I think two of the most important skills for a landscape architect are critical thinking and clear communication. We are asked to process a great deal of information, such as site features, project program, building regulations, etc., and filter those through a design process that creates work that is both beautiful and functional. That requires patience in listening to clients and collaborators and the ability to communicate the design ideas back to those partners in all forms of communication – written, verbal and visual. We are asked to practice and demonstrate these skills regularly, and I believe that process helps us deploy them in all aspects of our lives, hopefully making us better friends, family members, and citizens.
One of the challenges of our profession is time – there just isn’t enough of it (but that could be said for so many aspects of our lives). Specific to our work is using our time efficiently and effectively. It often takes multiple iterations of a design to correctly solve for all the requirements a project presents, so it is helpful to understand all the demands of project time early in the process.
There is great satisfaction in the daily practice of trying to improve our built environment. Landscape architects can use their skills to improve every place they encounter. This extends outside of the profession to civic opportunities to share professional knowledge like serving on environmental boards or contributing to municipal codes and standards. It is a profession that does not stop or start at the office or sketch desk, and that is why I enjoy it.
plan and design land areas for projects such as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, highways, hospitals, schools, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.