Starting a landscape architecture practice can be a daunting process. Whether it’s a commercial practice, boutique studio, or one individual doing everything from accounting to design to AutoCAD drafting, the process is never as simple as one would like it to be. Since beginning Duane Border Design, we have learned a lot about what it takes to establish a brand while getting work, doing the work, and getting paid to do said work. We do not have all the answers and we are still learning.
This recent post from The Field, an ASLA blog, comes along just as we are thinking about new business strategies for Duane Border Design. Jan Johnson’s advice is well suited to anyone considering starting, or recently starting, a landscape architecture and design practice. The focus of the post is residential design, but the ideas can be applied to any level of landscape architecture practice. These are great points that efficiently express the importance of the vast considerations in developing a practice and are topics and considerations at the foundation of beginning Duane Border Design.
However, it’s never too early to begin practicing these skills. They aren’t only for those who have traveled down a long road of professional practice and now taking the next step as a business owner. These skills should be implemented early in one’s education and career. Traditional landscape architecture programs mold students to be effective designers and builders, but do little to prepare them for running a business.
I spend a significant amount of time discussing these topics with my students in our studio sessions help them understand there is more to a design practice than the design and production. Developing a well rounded understanding of the profession, local conditions, time management and client relationships should begin early in the formation of a young designer in order to make the leap of starting one’s own practice that much easier.