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Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their career paths in landscape architecture. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.

To get an idea of what a typical day looks like and where landscape architects spend most of their time while at work, PPN members were asked, How much time do you spend outdoors / on site vs. in an office?

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In the previous edition of LAND, we took a look at the results: Most survey respondents spend more time in an office than anywhere else, and many agreed that having a good balance between office and outdoor time is key.

This time, we’ll take a look at why respondents preferred working in one location or the other, or felt compelled to spend more time in the office when they’d rather be out on site.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors
• “I believe that landscape architects do their best work while out on the site. Everything else is merely conjecture.”
• “I prefer to be outside, to fully experience the place and its context.”
• “In the field, hands down. There's no such thing as bad in the field regardless of the weather, difficulty of terrain, or travel distance.”
• “I prefer testing out design ideas on site.”
• “It is important to be in the field to stay connected to the end product.”
• “Outdoors: in touch with medium of work. See projects realized.”
• “I enjoy my times outside the office as this is place where one’s thoughts are getting installed.”
• “Outdoors, by far − otherwise you become disconnected and ideas risk straying from the reality of site/context.”
• “On site definitely. I'm old fashioned in that on-the-ground experience far exceeds photos and computer-generated models in understanding ‘how a site works.’”
• “Some outdoor time makes for a good balance and to get real world (e.g. construction site) experience.”
• “I would prefer to be outside, but who wouldn't when in front of a computer all day.”
• “Outdoors on site, full-scale perspective, no LED screens.”
• “I would like to work outdoors more because it is rejuvenating.”

Focusing on Design in the Office
• “I prefer the design aspect vs. out in the field.”
• “I would prefer to have a 35/65 (outdoor/indoor) split, but overall, I prefer working on the design production, research, and communication materials to doing extensive field visits, hands-on plantings, or construction observation. When in the field, I like getting involved with photo-documentation, sketching notes, tree and plant ID, and observing how the space is used by people and patterns.”
• “I like both but prefer the office environment because the people I work with are amazing.”
• “Site visits are fun, but the team interaction in the office when solving complex design challenges is the most inspiring.”
• “Prefer informal office environment with other LAs...offers opportunity for discussion and collaboration.”
• “I can accomplish more in the office.”
• “I prefer the conceptual design world more than the implementation world.”
• “It’s where design happens.”
• “I like music in my office.”

Workplace Demands
• “I'd love to be outdoors more and get out when I can but as a manager I spend more time in the office with budgets, meetings, reporting, strategizing.”
• “Early in my career I was on-site 80 percent of the time. Then I became a manager, and drove a desk all day. I'd rather be on-site, but it doesn't pay.”
• “Would love to be outdoors more, but our practice is not really structured that way.”
• “Prefer outdoors but a typical day finds me in the office designing, managing, and doing office-related tasks.”

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