For over thirty years Bill Einhorn has instructed our Landscape Design students, passing on the technical skills and foundational knowledge for creating hospitable and healthy green spaces. As our longtime instructor and the president of the New York chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, we thought Bill would be the perfect person to ask about the newest trends emerging in the landscape design industry, and the kinds of projects our graduates can expect to see as they venture out into the field.
What recent trends are you noticing in the industry and in designing projects for clients?
In both the public and private sector clients are more in tune with sustainability and the use of native plants. Green roofs and rain gardens are not new trends anymore and the public is much more aware of sustainable practice. However, I have found that the newer regulations in many towns that I work in that insist on sustainable practice, storm water management, and wetland regulations can add prohibitive costs to projects where the client either kills the project or cuts back on aesthetics in order to put the money into following the new rules. Other trends I see in the high-end market are an increased demand for outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, and spas. Clients want to extend their enjoyment of the shortened outdoor season in the northeast. It is exciting that I am now designing projects that I would normally see out on the west coast.
What advice would you give to current students and recent landscape grads who may just be starting out?
The economy is still not great; however, the high-end market seems to be unaffected. Talented students who have recently graduated from the NYBG have had great success in the high-end residential market whether it is in roof top gardens in NYC or estates out in the Hamptons. Trendy new areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been very successful areas for students looking for work with growing firms. Finding work in local government or municipalities seems to be tougher, but if you are willing to intern or volunteer for a while on local projects you may eventually get hired.
What are some of the skills you’re teaching landscape design students this fall?
Many students start the program wondering why we begin with drafting basics rather than working on the computer. To be a well-rounded designer you need to be proficient in both hand and computer rendering. Every great designer I know of still develops hand sketches on trace paper first and than eventually plugs it in and converts the concepts to CAD-based drawings. Think about it, every Disney/Pixar film is still hand drawn on storyboards and then converted to computer animation. That’s why the program curriculum includes classes like Graphics I and Intro to DynaScape. DynaScape is a very easy program to learn that was developed with the landscape designer in mind. I use it all the time.
Students can browse all upcoming Landscape Design classes taught by Bill and other Garden experts at nybg.org/adulted
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