I've been working in the landscape industry since 1979 and what I've done and seen over those years, in terms of landscape construction, has been varied to say the least.
Much of what we see from landscapers and designers in today's social media centric world - Blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, to name a few examples - is centred on the delivery. The end product.
There are some great projects being built and it's fair to say that because builders and designers are sharing photos of projects, others are becoming inspired and are really pushing the boundaries in terms of what's possible. I also think there's so much more to come.
Pricing for skills is lagging
However, what I notice often is the reluctance of the creative landscaper and designer to kick into touch the old pricing practises. Too many appear to entrenched in ground-worker mentality and are still selling their labour by the metre, or heaven's forbid, by the hour.
A metred rate may well be OK if a project is for a repetitive scheme on a new build housing estate or a council type scheme but today it's an outdated practice. If you're still thinking this way then it's time to reassess your business plan. Creativity costs money and landscapers and designers should exploit their talents accordingly.
It's relatively easy to lay cobbles or standard flags in a rectangle or a straight line but when curves or intricate patterns are introduced then there's nothing standard about the skill-set that a builder needs in their creative armoury. Add colour, texture, plants, trees and atmosphere into any plan and it's a different ballgame.
Sadly I don't think there are many landscapers and designers who are intellectually equipped to charge themselves out at what they're worth, rather than what the - outdated - market says they should charge. Maybe I'm maligning many and my views are too generalistic but I feel there needs to be a mind shift and a re-think.
Are you being paid the right amount for your creative thinking and skills?