The LAM Gift Guide for Landscape Architecture Graduates

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Books, technology and plenty of pens to properly prepare the new designer.

Speak AML Editorial Advisory Board

Well, it finally happened. Your family member/friend/mentee/colleague has graduated from a BLA or MLA program, and is ready to begin their journey as a landscape architecture professional. Now that they’re out of school, you want to buy them a gift that shows them you understand what they do and why they’re passionate about it.

University of Kentucky graduate urges classmates to “be the change.” Credit: @uky_landscapearchitecture/University of Kentucky (UK) Landscape Architecture.

AML is here to help. Below you will find the very first AML Landscape Architecture Graduate Gift Guide. Coming directly from the magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, a group of 15 landscape architects from across the profession, the elements of this guide are both practical and poetic.

Each product has been independently selected by the AML Editorial Advisory Board. ASLA may earn a commission on certain products if you purchase through the links.

Personal Gifts for Professional Growth

Associate Member of ASLA $65
Membership includes a wealth of resources and networking opportunities for the new grad. And you get the printed version of AML to start.

The “Default Trees in Plan” enamel pin set by Pin Prick is handmade and available on Etsy. Image courtesy of Etsy.

Landscape Architecture Cufflinks/Pins on Etsy, $11.80 to $36.73
“If the phrase designer chic means anything to you or your loved one, then these cufflinks/pins are a great way to complete their aesthetic.” —Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA

Sketchbooks Leuchtturm1917 $16.50–$36.95
With your personal notes added:

  • An “Encouragement Sketchbook” that includes your supportive notes written on random pages throughout.
  • A “Challenge Sketchbook” with a list of challenges and a checkbox next to them so the student can tick them off as completed.
  • A “quick sketchbook” with ideas for things to draw sprinkled throughout.

“I gave this gift once, but I know they appreciated it literally years after it was given to me. At various times throughout the year, I would receive a thank you message for the same gift I gave at their graduation. The first year out of school is difficult. It’s good to give encouragement that stays with people, supporting them the longer they use the gift. —Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA

Books

250 Things A Landscape Architect Should Know is a response to Michael Sorkin’s manifesto.

250 things a landscape architect should know edited by B. Cannon Ivers, $34.99
“Good advice from the masters! Some of this information will take decades to learn, so it will give you a jump on the knowledge and practices of successful practitioners. —Meg Calkins, FASLA

Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, $60.45
“A collection of brilliant thinkers writing concisely on a range of climate change topics, from the soils to the supersonic. This is a newly added main text to my Natural History of Cities course.” —Ron Henderson , FASLA

Garden Revolution: how our landscapes can be a source of environmental change by Larry Weaner, $39.95
“I admire Larry Weaner for his unique talent for combining environmental science and garden design. A true plant guru; very inspiring. —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

Planting in a post-wild world by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, $39.95
“I loved this book for inspiring me to design robust, diverse, and aesthetically pleasing native plant communities that surpass traditional turf-dominated yards.” —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

2022 BSLA degree from Arizona State University. Credit: @givensel.studio/Kaya Givensel.

With People in Mind: Designing and Managing Nature Everyday by Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan and Robert Ryan, $42
“I think every landscape architect who cares about people should have a copy of this book on their shelf. All drawings are made by a landscape architect, visualizing deep concepts clearly and simply. —Sara Hadavi, ASLA

By Roots by James Urban, $97.95
“I recommend this book to anyone designing, specifying, installing and managing trees. It’s invaluable and my copy is tarnished by continual references. —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

Ready, Set, Practice: Elements of Professional Practice in Landscape Architecture by Bruce G. Sharky, $98.75
“This book helped me break my LARE failing streak before I got my license. It still sits on the shelf next to my desk in the office with bookmarks containing the construction administration pages and auctions. It’s a great tool for the budding LA or even a growing LA. —Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA

Also suggested: Regional plant guides specific to where the graduate will be working.

Tools for studio, field and office

The Filson bag line combines design and utility for the field landscape architect. Credit: Drew Coffman (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/5816747467/.

Filson field bag $275 to $395

Copic Sketch Markers (sets or individual) 6-piece set from $24, 12-piece set from $66, 72-piece set from $300
“I love these markers. So smooth and blendable. They come in many colors. —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

portfolio Copic Sketch Marker $22 to $44

Helvetica Architect’s Pencil $15

Sakura Micron Pens and Sets (variable line widths) $3 to $20
“You can never have too many pens, especially these ones that maintain a variety of consistent line weights!” —Meg E. Calkins, FASLA

Alumicolor Editorial Fan $15.78

US ProTape tape measure 3/8″ x 50′ 45322 $74.94
“The tape measure is a necessary fieldwork tool. This keychain clip is small and still measures a considerable length. I really encourage wearing one, even off the clock. You never know when or where you’ll encounter a perfect (or terrible) landscape moment worthy of study. Goes well with notebooks and pens. —Petra Marar, ASLA

SAMLITE LED Tactical Flashlight with 5 options $19.99
“If you’re not so engrossed and lost in a landscape that you suddenly find yourself plunged into darkness, you really should, but make sure you keep a flashlight with you!” The red laser pointer and UV black light add versatile appeal for a wide range of explorers and teachers. —Petra Marar, ASLA

“This scrub has helped me avoid nasty breakouts and recover from them more times than I can remember.” —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

Tecnu Exfoliating Poison Ivy/Oak Extreme $19.94
Multiple endorsements for this article including, “It’s going to happen on a site visit one day, so you might as well be prepared.” —Meg E. Calkins, FASLA

Technology

Wacom pen tablet $399.95 to $2,829.95

Airpods Pro $249

Morpholio trace sketch $99
“It’s a great tool for collaborative design while working remotely. You can draw and annotate existing basic drawings, design sketches, and construction drawings in virtual team collaborations. —Meg E. Calkins , FASLA

Software subscriptions
Concept sketch The price varies.

ImageThis plant identification app, $29.99 per year
“I use PictureThis and it’s fabulous. It’s the only app I’m happy to pay for. I’ve used it in various vegetative areas and on several continents. It has yet to disappoint. —Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA

SketchUp Package: SketchUp Go $199
“I have used SketchUp since its inception and am a huge fan of this intuitive 3D design software. There is a whole community of SketchUp users who are equally passionate and eager to help new users. —Susan Kenzle, ASLA

Adobe Creative Cloud $54.99 per month
“You can’t train without him! Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and more! —Meg E. Calkins, FASLA

Associate Professor Ebru Ozer, ASLA, welcomes a fresh graduate to the start of Florida International University. Credit: Ebru Ozer, ASLA.

The AML The Editorial Advisory Board is comprised of W. Phillips Barlow, ASLA; Benjamin M. Boisclair, ASLA; Elizabeth Boults, ASLA; Meg E. Calkins, FASLA; Sara Hadavi, Associate ASLA; Ron Henderson, FASLA; Susan Kenzle, ASLA; Jeanne M. Lukenda, ASLA; Lily Mank, Associate ASLA; Petra Marar, ASLA; Maren McBride, ASLA; Dennis R. Nola, FASLA; Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA; David Jacob Toda, ASLA Associate; Mackenzie David Wendling, ASLA Partner.

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