American Society of Landscape Architects

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Jim Lapides,
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American Society of Landscape Architects
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Firms Moving Beyond Real Estate Development; Most Clients Interested in Sustainability

Washington, DC, April 28, 2008 — Despite the continued drop in the real estate market, the majority of landscape architects remained busy in the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest Business Quarterly survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Fifty-five percent of respondents described their billable hours as average or above in Q1 2008, and 53 percent reported average or above inquiries during the same period. Additionally, 38 percent plan to hire in the Q2 2008—unchanged from the previous quarterly survey.

“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,” said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of 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.

Compared to last quarter, your billable hours are:
Well above average – 6.1%
Slightly above average – 21.3%
Right where they usually are, average – 27.4%
Slightly below average – 31.0%
Well below average – 14.2%

Compared to last quarter, your inquiries are:
Well above average – 5.9%
Slightly above average – 18.5%
Right where they usually are, average – 28.7%
Slightly below average – 31.1%
Well below average – 15.7%

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, your first quarter 2008 billable hours were:
Higher – 20.5%
About the same – 32.5%
Lower – 45.8%

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, your first quarter 2008 inquiries were:
Higher – 15.5%
About the same – 36.5%
Lower – 44.9%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the upcoming quarter? (Check all that apply):
Experienced landscape architect – 12.7%
Entry level landscape architect – 15.3%
Support staff – 8.5%
Intern – 13.7%
Other – 6.6%
Not hiring – 61.8%

Clients with recent high interested in sustainability issues:
Yes – 71.7%
No – 24.1%
Unknown – 4.2%

Top sustainability issues (check all that apply):
Water (bioswales, stormwater management) – 72.3%
Energy Efficiency (irrigation, low-maintenance, native plans, less lawn) – 68.1%
Accreditation (LEED points, national/state/local guidelines) – 54.7%
Habitat (open space, preserving natural habitat) – 32.2%
Green Roofs – 28.0%
Links (access to transportation, trails, parks) – 25.4%

About the Survey
The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries, and hiring plans. The Q1 2008 national survey was fielded March 20-31, with 427 firms responding.

About ASLA
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 18,200 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at