The following post is by KKDG’s Melissa Sparks, Landscape Architectural Assistant:
A year and a half ago I completed graduate school with a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and only a basic understanding of what to expect in the professional world. Since I started working at Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group I’ve learned a lot about the field.
One main difference between school and professional work is that your project will get built. In school, projects are usually focused around hypothetical situations. By contrast, professional work is more rewarding since your design comes to life and you have improved someone’s living space. A similarity between school and work is the notion of working collaboratively. Being able to bounce your ideas off your teammates is extremely beneficial because oftentimes new ideas and solutions are formed.
Similar to school, a project starts with hand-drawn concepts and is then translated digitally:
In today’s day and age, computer programs are essential for efficiently developing and communicating drawings. As the project evolves, becoming more technical and precise which eventually leads to documents for construction. AutoCAD is the industry wide standard and for good reason. I found it to have a somewhat steep learning curve but once the basics were learned, I found it gets much more manageable.
Sketchup is another great program for testing out designs and providing the client with a better idea of how the project looks in 3D rather than 2D.
This past year has been about learning through trial and error. Luckily the team here has been understanding, encourages constant improvement, and ensures quality designs through numerous reviews. While there is still a lot to learn, the process has been rewarding. The field of landscape architecture is not a well known profession, yet it has a large impact on individuals and society it touches.