The landscape architecture program grows by 200% > GSA Business


This story first appeared in the April 18 print edition of the GSA Business Report.

Two upstate companies are up for finalists in HGTV’s Ultimate Outdoor Awards for their design of a “poolside paradise” in a downtown Greenville home.

The Dabney Collins Companya Pendleton landscaping company, and Patrimonial companies of Campobello, a manufacturer of wood and metal products used in the creation of picnic shelters at Unity Park in Greenville, are among the eight finalists in the swimming pool category of the competition. The winners are selected by public vote on HGTVuntil April 12.

“DabneyCollins has created some of the finest luxury outdoor spaces in the Southeast, so we were honored they chose Heirloom to help bring this incredible project to life,” said James Moseley, design manager at The Heirloom. Companies, in a statement.

Several members of the DabneyCollins team first cultivated their eye for exterior design by Clemson Universityaccording to director and teacher Matt Powers.

The DabneyCollins Company and Heirloom Companies project may serve as a model in the public imagination when it comes to landscape architecture, but most projects are for business or government.  (Photo/Supplied)And while HGTV might be the poster child in the public imagination for a field booming with demand and interest, Powers always reminds prospective students that landscape architecture is so much more than designing getaways. verdant.

What sets the discipline of landscape design and engineering apart is what connects the two careers: landscape architects solve landscape problems through design.

“Landscape architects create spaces outdoors,” he said. “So we create courtyards, we create basketball courts – but outside – baseball diamonds, zoos, parks. Architects design the buildings and landscape architects design everything between the buildings which can be streets and sidewalks. It can be parks, greenways, paths, the coast. And even the buildings themselves are in the landscape, and we often help architects and dictate where these go in the landscape.

Most landscape architecture projects are public or at least larger than a single residence. And the psychology of location plays a huge role in the selection of materials and how they are presented.

For example, former landscape architect Lawrence Halpert transformed downtown Greenville from a concrete jungle into a shaded boulevard by planting select trees. He changed the flow of traffic, narrowed the street and widened the sidewalks so people could dine al fresco. Everything down to drainage can be the domain of a landscape architect if hired.

“The difference between us and an engineer, who might also be doing this, is that landscape architects are usually a bit more sensitive to the human-nature balance,” Powers said. “Our goal is 100/100: nature/humans. Art. Science. Not 50/50. We try to do both, as best we can.

Clemson students helped Earth Design develop South Carolina's first new state park in 20 years.  (Map/Provided)And as it stands, financial support for a more holistic exterior design is one of the few patches of common ground the Trump and Biden presidential administrations could find, according to Power, leading to speculative demand. important in the field. So has increased investment and interest in sustainability and – an ongoing trend that has exploded during the pandemic – public park systems.

For several years, SC Biz News has reported that the SC Parks System has recorded higher numbers than ever and is preparing for the rollout of its first new parks in 20 years: Black River Park in Williamsburg and Georgetown counties. Powers students helped the firm Earth Design create the park last fall.

In 2022, admissions to Clemson University’s landscape architecture program — the only such undergraduate degree in the state — increased 200%, he said. Potential employers send job postings to the department every day, and tickets to the program’s job fair sold out within 48 hours.

All of Power’s seniors already have jobs lined up after graduation, and many offers were accepted months ago. And while some features of landscape architectural design—such as parking lots with permeable asphalt or parks with native wildflowers instead of grass—have not caught on everywhere, Powers is convinced they are features of the future.

“I would say landscape architecture is in some ways at the forefront and in some ways in the middle of a lot of different trends that are happening,” he said. “What I mean by that is that we’ve been at the forefront of green industry for a long time.”

Contact Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.


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