Top 100 Influencers in the Landscape Architecture and Design Industry 2017

Spring is coming and with it, the world looks to the outdoors. Beautiful landscapes are created by landscape architects, who are forward thinking in their design. Allow us to introduce you to the top 100 influencers of the landscape architecture and design industry. We chose these architects from nationwide industry experts based on their contributions to blogs and news websites, as well as through their social media presence — top industry list appearances, awards won, and landscape associations. Listed alphabetically, we’ve included their contact and website information, so you can learn more about them and the wonderful work they do.

You can see the full list here.

We gathered some of these influencers’ opinions about their predictions for upcoming trends as well as how they see the industry, in order to give you a glimpse into how they operate.

Tom Donnelly, President of BrightView Group, says that one of the top landscape trends for 2017 will be “Great design with practical, affordable solutions.” While Kevin O'Neill, President of Landscape Contractors Association (LCA), states that “The top trends this year will be upscale outdoor living spaces, in both new designs and renovations.”

On the other hand, Susan Van Atta, the President of Van Atta Associates Inc suggests that
“taking inspiration from the surrounding environment to inform landscape design ideas will continue.” In the same line of thought regarding the close relationship between landscape and environment, another interesting insight is from Mikyoung Kim, Design Director of Mikyoung Kim Design, who suggests that “It’s clear that the public realm has become a place for the public voice – voices of protest, voices calling for unity.” She thinks an important trend will be how landscape reflects the culture and community it serves.

According to Susannah C. Drake, Principal of DLANDstudio, “Infrastructure and Urban Design with a greater awareness of the value of landscape systems will be a trend in 2017.” Therefore, understanding culture and community of the area will be key.

Another interesting opinion about this year trend comes from Laura Jerrard, of Lutsko Associates, who says that “Constructed landscapes are becoming less groomed. Perennially green lawns and ever-blooming beds of flowers no longer feel comfortable as an ideal; dormancy and decay are being allowed – even embraced – in the garden.”

How Technology Affects Landscaping

As smart home designs are gaining in popularity, we wanted to know how these influencers felt about how technology would affect the landscape design world. Although their opinions vary, most agree that technology will be the way of the future for designing landscapes.

“4D software to understand spatial references and alignments between architecture and landscape design” tops Donnelly’s list of technologies. Whereas according to Drake, “Dynamic modeling and enhanced visualization techniques have the potential to reveal the value and performance of urban landscape design.”

Using technology is a great way for the customer to visualize their new landscape before it is installed. According to Harold Leidner, President of Harold Leidner Company, “Technology is affecting landscape architecture in a visual manner by allowing rendering software to create a more realistic impression of design intent. Showing 3D imagery of what we envision as the final product allows the client to better understand the design and get excited about the potential of their space.”

Eco-friendly Landscaping

When it comes to eco-friendly landscaping and how it impacts their designs, our influencers have different views. Drake says, “Being eco-friendly means maximizing the value of a resource, and thus we identify neglected landscapes and suggest transformation for public open space, storm water management, pollution mitigation, reducing heat island effect, and revenue generation.”

For Charles Brucker, Principal of PLACE, the positive transformation that improves the physical environment is “a landscape that is eco-friendly responds to its context and has the ability to connect with its occupants in a profound manner.” And he believes this landscape design beneficially participates in the larger systems of fauna, flora, hydrology as a start. It makes you and the critters who pass through it feel good.

While Van Atta describes her ideas as, “Looking to the beauty of the nearby natural landscape for form and planting ideas, creating lovely outdoor spaces to create sympathy for the environment, as well as practical considerations such as food production (vegetable gardens and orchards), stormwater management, and habitat creation.”

And before you can start thinking of eco-friendly landscaping as something unattainable, we learn this from Laura Jerrard from Lutsko Associates: “An eco-friendly landscape is a place – either constructed or managed – where humans accept and act upon their responsibility for stewardship of our world. All can be eco-friendly landscapes.”

Stay Up to Date on Trends

We hope you’ll enjoy this list of the top 100 influencers in the landscape architecture and design industry for 2017, and that you’ll use it to help broaden your own ideas of what the future holds for this field. Following the influencers is always a savvy way to stay abreast with the latest developments, allowing you to begin influencing designs yourself.

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