Every year, April is celebrated as World Landscape Architecture month, a time to honor those who plan, design, and nurture the built and natural environments. Without landscape architects, we wouldn’t have beautiful streetscapes, charming courtyards or even effective stormwater drainage.
At Gresham Smith, our Landscape Architecture practice reaches far and wide, from master planning an upgrade to a local park, to designing a town square for a hospital in Northwest Florida, and even reimagining the entryway to Nashville’s first post-modern skyscraper.
This year, we decided to ask some of our landscape architects why they chose the profession. Keep reading to hear what they had to say!
I was always drawn to architecture and knew I wanted to be in a design field. I was taking a drafting class in high school, and my teacher asked me what I wanted to major in in college. I said that I liked architecture and would probably go to school for that, but I was more interested in the relationship of the building and the surrounding site. He suggested that I look into landscape architecture and the rest is history.
The part of landscape architecture that really drew me in is that it gives me the ability to create spaces that are meaningful as well as spaces that people will create core memories in. I also like that the profession is so broad that my role is multifaceted. I’m very thankful that I get to do what I dreamed of doing when I was younger.
I was first introduced to landscape architecture when I attended a Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts program as an architecture student during my junior year of high school. The program introduced us to a wide range of architecture and design programs, and I was drawn to landscape architecture. As a teenager thinking about college, I was looking for a career that would allow me to combine both my love for the outdoor environment and design/architecture. I found that landscape architecture was a great combination; plus, as a girl who grew up on the farm, the University of Kentucky’s program was in an old dairy barn, which I thought was cool.
When I was young, all I did was play with LEGO, Lincoln Logs, erector sets—generally anything that I could use to build stuff. I figured that would lead me down the path to become an architect. At the University of Kentucky, I was applying to the School of Design. Around the same time, I was introduced to the College of Agriculture, and they had a similar program within that school called Landscape Architecture. When I found out that landscape architecture combines art and science to create fantastic outdoor spaces, that was very intriguing to me. I love outdoor spaces, especially ones that bring people together. That’s when I hung up my architecture portfolio and traded it for a career in landscape architecture.
Jared Kaelin, PLA, ASLA
I decided to become a landscape architect because I grew up in a family of engineers, contractors and real estate agents, and I have always loved being around new designs and job sites. I just knew I wanted to design spaces where I could take my family, and see others enjoying the spaces that had been created. Landscape architecture just made sense to me.