Landscape Architecture Firms Still Busy

May 8, 2008

The majority of landscape architects remained busy in the first quarter of 2008 despite the continued drop in the real estate market. According to a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), 55 percent of respondents described their billable hours as "average or above" in Q1 2008, and 53 percent reported average or above-average inquiries during the same period. Also, 38 percent plan to hire in the second quarter of 2008.

"While the majority of firms reported steady or increased work, the housing troubles have certainly slowed some segments of the market - especially major real estate developments," says Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO at ASLA. "Landscape architecture firms have turned to high-end residential work, commercial development, and public-sector projects to mitigate most of the slowdown from the housing market."

The survey also asked about interest in sustainability, with nearly 72 percent of respondents reporting clients as "very interested" in sustainable issues. The top sustainability issues were water (bioswales and stormwater management) at 72.3 percent, energy efficiency (irrigation, low maintenance, native plants, less lawn) at 68.1 percent, habitat (open space and preserving natural habitats) at 32.2 percent, and green roofs at 28 percent.

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