I am not a pansy.
I have been thinking a lot lately or rather a handful of years about how Landscape Design is perceived in the world of design. My conclusion: I don’t think it is thought about hardly at all. Landscape Architecture, sure, probably in a similar but lesser way than Architecture. It’s large scale, top dollar, and a bit cumbersome. You can’t really put it in your hands and admire it.
When I tell people I am a Landscape Designer they often confuse me with an architect or a gardener. While sometimes I do wish I had some of the technical education of a Landscape Architect, I feel so awkward when someone confuses this. It’s kind of a huge thing. Would you confuse an interior designer for an Architect? I can’t imagine.
Landscape design, I feel, is hardly an accepted form of design. There is a big design movement going on right now, especially when you account for ‘the makers.’ Pinterest is bursting at the seams with photos of pretty things you can have and make. I search A LOT for landscape design in lots of these worlds, and rarely is there a category for landscape design, usually it is lumped under gardening or architecture. I don’t believe it is on purpose, but an oversight.
Maybe I am a little bit self-conscious and don’t want my career and passion to be associated with pansies and hedges. I sort of feel like a 2 year old who is throwing a “what about me” tantrum, “I am different.” Or perhaps my vanity can’t deal with pink flowery garden gloves, garden gnomes and a field of tulips. I’m sure my feelings are similar to what lots of creative types feel about their work, but no, REALLY!
When people think of me as a gardener, I almost cringe, and now I am cringing at myself for saying this. Landscape design does not equal plants. Yes plants are an important part, but there is SO MUCH MORE. Plants are like the lamps or the color you decide to paint the walls. I don’t know why I am using the interior designer again, but it’s like calling an interior designer a painter.
I do love plants and I love science. I am obsessed with trees and love that I have a knack for recalling a botanical name that I had no idea I even knew. I also really appreciate the food and beauty that plants provide in our lives. Their structure is an indispensable design tool and they also make spaces comfortable and give them color and feeling. Plants and garden beds are a part of the landscape, not the whole.
I would like this to change and show more people the benefits of opening up your outdoor spaces as a platform for great design and good living, because there is really nothing more satisfying than sitting on your patio enjoying good company and a glass of wine on the perfect summer evening. The bottom line is that it is about being outside, and reflecting and rejuvenating.
In case this comes across as a complaint instead of an observation, I really do think that my job is amazing. It’s a multi-faceted discipline and I feel really lucky. I love science, I love design, and I love building things. My greatest hope is that I can share with more people how fulfilling it is to create a life outside of doors.