Letter from the Chair
by Bill Einhorn, RLA
I would like to begin by introducing myself to the Residential Landscape Architecture members I did not meet at the ASLA conference this past fall in sunny San Diego. I have been practicing residential landscape architecture since my graduation from Syracuse University’s School of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1983. I own and operate LDAW Landscape Architecture PC, a residential design/build firm in Carmel, New York. We specialize in high-end residential design and pool environments. For 27 years, I have also been an instructor in landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture in the Bronx, New York.

This past conference was particularly exciting and educational for me. The PPN meetings were better than ever this year as they were held on the event floor during the day where you could pop into various meetings to see what members were up to. I stopped by several just to hear what other PPNs had to offer as well as hear common threads running throughout several of the PPNs. For example, in the Design-Build PPN, the attendees talked about proposing an educational session/panel for the next conference in Phoenix for those who specialized in both Residential Landscape Architecture as well as Design-Build.

During the 2010 meeting in Washington, it was discussed that the PPNs may be better served by switching to discussion forums with the latest social media tools. Most PPN members who weighed in thought that LinkedIn would work best. So, LinkedIn groups were set up for all of the PPNs. I have to say that the formation of the group for Residential Landscape Architecture has been a great success and the discussions have been lively and interesting. Let’s keep posting!! To join the Residential Landscape Architecture LinkedIn, all you have to do is click.

For me, the highlight of the 2011 conference was the field session on Modern Landscape Architecture where we visited several residences designed by various local landscape architects in a modern, contemporary style. The homes and properties were magnificent as well as the various scales of the projects from quaint to grand. Seeing these designs and residences made me proud to be a landscape architect and rekindled a spark in my creative process. I have since employed some of the general concepts into my designs which I would not have considered if it were not for the session.

As the poor economy has affected us all, it has been my observation that many of my upscale clients are spending more time at their primary residences and less time traveling. Clients want to use and enjoy their outdoor spaces deeper into the season here in the North East. During the field session, I noticed the extensive use of outdoor gas fire pits in San Diego and started to design and install them here in New York. They have become wildly popular with my clients. This past fall, I had a client who wanted a fire pit that he could just turn on and not worry about gathering wood and cleaning out cinders, but his teenage son really enjoyed the smell, crackle, and fun of a real fire. We decided on a three tier fire feature with the center area being wood burning and the two lower pits being gas. It was through collaboration with a California company whose representative I met at last year’s conference that the equipment was designed and specified! The clients, both young and old were thrilled with the completed fire pits.

I would specifically like to thank our newsletter authors: J’Nell Bryson, Steve Chepurny, Monica Mroz, and Kat Weiss. A thank you also goes to all of those who have contributed to the PPN via LinkedIn or other discussions. Finally, I want to thank Rachel Shaw and Kasha Helget at ASLA National for all their hard work in making the PPNs as exciting and relevant as they are. I hope to see everyone on LinkedIn as well as Phoenix next September.

Have a healthy and prosperous spring,

Bill Einhorn, RLA
Chair, Residential Landscape Architecture PPN
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