You need to have a good working understanding of plants, what their needs are, the botany of plants, horticulture aspects, soils. You need to have a little background in civil engineering, some structural engineering.
There's quite a lot of math, math and geometry, figuring out how much mulch or rock or landscaping fabric that you're going to need. you have to figure out the area of all these weird shapes, basically, on the plan, and take that square footage and convert that to how many tons or cubic yard of material you're going to need.
So once we have the preliminary plan roughed out at this scale, then we move to another scale, typically. This is 1 inch equals 8 feet, so here you can see the detail around the house. We're able to see exactly what the plants are, as well as the quantities.
Here at heard gardens, our main focus is what we call design build. We have landscape architects on staff who will design a particular project, and then in turn, we also have construction crews that will go out and implement that project.
You need to have an appreciation of the outdoors, be able to understand it, respect it. Certainly a lot of what we do needs to be in tune environmentally with the surroundings.
One of the first things we do is add grass in here. Once I've added the grass, then I'll start to plug in a few plants, trees, shrubs, that kind of thing. There's your grass.
We don't use this to design. We'll do the plan first. Then based on what we've got on the plan, we'll do this as a communication tool or a selling tool. That would be the after.
Communication skills and presentation skills are very important. I would say they are just as important as the design skills or the graphic skills, or maybe even more so.
In this state, to use the title landscape architect, you have to be registered or licensed. That's a pretty involved process. You have to have a bachelor degree in landscape architecture. You have to have three years of professional experience. You also need to pass the registration exam.
Like an artist would use canvas and paints, our medium is plant material.