This past year was one of upheaval and profound change. People, ideas and places were passed by, passed through, passed over and passed around. New ways of thinking and doing emerged and evolved while some old ones became immediately antiquated and still others proved their mettle.
We have all fretted about the economy just as we looked for new ways to continue our landscape design practices with fewer and newly frugal clients. Independent designers in all disciplines have struggled to survive while reinforcing and sometimes reinventing their value in the wake of the so called ‘new economy’. I hope that in the coming year more people–designers and clients alike–will more fully understand that the designed environment adds positive substance daily to their lives.
The days of over-the-top backyard resorts have all but become extinct, and to survive that extinction we have to find more imaginative ways to draw people outside and give them meaningful places to gather. In 2010 we will still have to continue to prove to our clients that thoughtful and creative design gives back to them directly as well as to the world at large. Landscape designers are at the forefront of creating a more sustainable planet by making changes great and small, yard by yard, garden by garden. We must also demonstrate to ourselves and our clients that we can do more with less and that innovative and forward thinking design at any budget will help heal the earth and add to their well being.
We, as designers, will have to become more adept at communicating that message on multiple platforms to reach out and promote ourselves and our message to our clients. We need to communicate our value so clearly and understandably that potential clients will see beyond the picture perfect images of published design that seem so financially unattainable. We have to help our clients to understand what we already know–great design gives back long after the check is cashed–it’s an investment in quality of life for them directly as well as the world at large.