My website, business card, and stationary include my listing as a San Diego APLD Certified Landscape Designer, and you may be wondering exactly what this designation means. Briefly, anyone with this listing after their name has met all the requirements for design work and experience, as well as submitted their work and had it accepted by an international panel of judges.
The certification process is a part of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), an international organization of like-minded professionals. This classification is the highest ranking for members of the APLD, and currently there are only a handful of Certified Landscape Designers working in the San Diego area. Certified designers are the only professionals allowed to use the APLD logo after their names for their businesses.
The criteria for gaining certification is as follows
In a nutshell, this describes the Certified level of the APLD - the highest of six categories of members. I believe landscape designers are the top pros when it comes to artistically laying-out gardens, and often have the most plant expertise as well. APLD membership and certification signifies the designer has met and is dedicated to upholding the highest standards in the landscape industry.
The how-to’s of outdoor landscape lighting design and installation seem intimidating. Low-voltage and LED intricacies are subjects worthy of college textbooks. Here are some tidbits of info, design tips, and tricks I find helpful in creating and installing outdoor low-voltage lighting.
15. Silhouettes of plants and garden ornaments are dramatic and can be created by lighting walls behind the element to be silhouetted.
16. Shadowing is the opposite effect of silhouetting, created by casting light directly on plants or ornamental objects to cast shadows on blank walls.
17. Safety lighting is one of the most important functions of outdoor lighting. It goes without saying that it is important to place lights by stairs, steps, and any other area that could otherwise cause injury.
18. Hoods on step, stair, and pathway lights are important for safety lights, so as not to partially blind those using steps and stairs at night.
19. It is easy to include underwater lights in a low-voltage system; lighting ponds, streams, and fountains from beneath the water’s surface.
20. If a body of water, i.e. pool or pond is near, mirror lighting is still another beautiful effect that can be created. By lighting trees on the other side of the body of water from a viewing area, the mirroring effect is cast.
These 20 rules are the primary considerations I use when designing low-voltage lighting, including LED systems, into my landscape designs in the San Diego area, but these tips should be useful anywhere outdoor lighting systems are installed.
This is the last in a three-part series on patio and walkway design in San Diego. We have discussed creating more permeable landscapes through designing with the Watershed Approach. Now here are a few thoughts, somewhat random, in pulling it all together.
The front entry area serves as your calling card: your statement to the world passing by. This makes this access point an excellent place to start a design. The front walkway and area around it may include steps, pillars, a fence and gate, a patio or seating area, walls, and one or more auxiliary pathways that join it on its march to the front door.
Front walkways that form a straight, 90-degree line from the street to the door are unimaginative; if space affords, one or more jogs in the paving needs to be added to create a more varied and interesting pattern on the visitor’s approach. The placement of side pathways has become crucial as lawns are replaced. While the lawn tolerated any abuse a family and pets could thrust upon it, few plants tolerate foot traffic. Side pathways of stone, gravel, and concrete and stone paving, or possibly mulch, are used to weave through planted areas, and can also serve as spaces to gather, rest, and view the garden.
It is critically important to size landscape surfaces to proper dimensions, in the front yard and throughout the property. Patio spaces that feel cramped and overcrowded are guaranteed not to be used as intended. Neither do we want to tip toe down skinny walkways This is not an area to scrimp in the budget.
A list of questions must be answered before beginning to draw these horizontal surfaces. How many people will potentially use the patio at the same time? What will each patio be used for? What types of outdoor furnishings will be necessary? How can permeable materials be incorporated to absorb surface water and prevent runoff? With the elimination or downsizing of the traditional lawn, alternatives to creating useable space include -- at least in part -- increasing the size of patios, adding several distinct patios, or both. These spaces are an increasingly important consideration in designing the new landscapes.
Permeable materials of low environmental impact have become an important ethical consideration in the new landscapes. The basic materials that have traditionally been used to form outdoor surfaces – concrete, rock, and wood – have not changed. It’s the way these materials are used and the finished product that has changed. More and more patios, walkways, and even driveways are being designed with permeable concrete, segmented concrete pavers, or gravel, all without a solid mortar underbelly so water can penetrate through to the soil below. By combining the harder patio surfaces of concrete and stone with permeable gravels, the horizontal surface is visually expanded, an important spatial consideration.
Like the rooms in a house, patio areas serve as centers for specific outdoor activities and functions, some somewhat unique. One client coined her special hillside steps and small patio as her ‘Stairway to Chardonnay’, a place to unwind in the evening with a glass of a favorite wine.