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So You Want to Be a Garden Designer: How to Get Started, Grow, and Thrive in the Landscape Design Business

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Every day talented and passionate gardeners think to themselves, “There must be a way to turn this into a career.” So You Want to Be a Garden Designer helps them turn that dream into reality by providing the practical, step-by-step information every budding designer needs to develop and nurture a thriving garden design business. A successful, self-made garden designer hers Every day talented and passionate gardeners think to themselves, “There must be a way to turn this into a career.” So You Want to Be a Garden Designer helps them turn that dream into reality by providing the practical, step-by-step information every budding designer needs to develop and nurture a thriving garden design business. A successful, self-made garden designer herself, Love Albrecht Howard conveys not only the basic skills required for the profession, but also the crucial details that can mean the difference between success and failure. Among the many questions she explores with warmth, humor, and a big dose of reality are: • What do I need to learn? • How do I tackle fences, stairs, decks, and other construction projects? • How can I avoid using chemicals? • What’s the best way to deal with challenging personalities? With extensive photographs, practical drawings, and clearheaded advice, So You Want to Be a Garden Designer is the comprehensive manual that all garden designers will wish they’d had from the start.


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Every day talented and passionate gardeners think to themselves, “There must be a way to turn this into a career.” So You Want to Be a Garden Designer helps them turn that dream into reality by providing the practical, step-by-step information every budding designer needs to develop and nurture a thriving garden design business. A successful, self-made garden designer hers Every day talented and passionate gardeners think to themselves, “There must be a way to turn this into a career.” So You Want to Be a Garden Designer helps them turn that dream into reality by providing the practical, step-by-step information every budding designer needs to develop and nurture a thriving garden design business. A successful, self-made garden designer herself, Love Albrecht Howard conveys not only the basic skills required for the profession, but also the crucial details that can mean the difference between success and failure. Among the many questions she explores with warmth, humor, and a big dose of reality are: • What do I need to learn? • How do I tackle fences, stairs, decks, and other construction projects? • How can I avoid using chemicals? • What’s the best way to deal with challenging personalities? With extensive photographs, practical drawings, and clearheaded advice, So You Want to Be a Garden Designer is the comprehensive manual that all garden designers will wish they’d had from the start.

35 review for So You Want to Be a Garden Designer: How to Get Started, Grow, and Thrive in the Landscape Design Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pam Penick

    I wish I’d had this book to help me get started as a garden designer. However, there is plenty of information useful even to those already in the business. Howard, who made a mid-life career change from marketing executive to owner of a full-service landscape and garden design business in Massachusetts, knows first-hand the pitfalls and rewards of the work. With humor, no-nonsense straight talk, plenty of personal anecdotes, and clear-eyed encouragement, she identifies the extensive knowledge ba I wish I’d had this book to help me get started as a garden designer. However, there is plenty of information useful even to those already in the business. Howard, who made a mid-life career change from marketing executive to owner of a full-service landscape and garden design business in Massachusetts, knows first-hand the pitfalls and rewards of the work. With humor, no-nonsense straight talk, plenty of personal anecdotes, and clear-eyed encouragement, she identifies the extensive knowledge base you need to succeed as a garden designer — and as an installer, if that’s also your desire, although she points out the multitude of niche services a designer can focus on, including seasonal patio and deck sprucing, container plantings, design only, garden coaching, etc. — while stressing that this is a service industry: it’s ultimately about working with people. While local plant, horticultural, and basic construction knowledge is essential, when you understand that your business is primarily about interacting with people and you work hard to make them happy, she says, then you’ll be successful. Howard specifies the nitty-gritty of how to do that: the psychology of working with clients; basic good-business skills like frequent, clear communication and thank-you notes; giving good design presentations; selling your ideas as well as yourself; and handling inevitable problems that arise and making things right. In many ways this is a small-business primer rather than a how-to book. She doesn’t attempt to teach you the design skills and gardening knowledge she assumes you already have if you’ve picked up this book. Rather she focuses on showing you how to become a service-oriented businessperson who also gets to work in a creative, get-your-hands-dirty (literally) field. I found particularly valuable her chapter entitled “When Things Go Wrong.” Whether it’s a construction error by you or one of your subcontractors, a client who irrationally becomes angry with you, an act of God that destroys a landscape job-in-progress, Howard has been there and offers constructive advice on how to handle the problem swiftly and decisively and make things right. Here and in other chapters she explains how to amicably “divorce” yourself from a long-term client who has proved consistently difficult to work with, how to hire quality subcontractors, and how to be a good boss. She even touches on how, once your own career is established, to mentor a talented new designer trying to get started in the business, and how to sell or gracefully exit your business when you’re ready to retire. Some of her most helpful advice for a start-up designer is about pricing and making your business profitable. She insists that you start by appropriately valuing your own services. She also addresses the question most of ask ourselves at some point in any career, particularly one in a creative field: Am I any good at what I do? Once you’re over the hurdle of setting up your business and you actually have some finished jobs under your belt, and perhaps you’ve even received some recognition from peers, you may find yourself suffering from the “imposter syndrome,” as Howard puts it: a feeling that you are a poser, pretending to be something you’re not, and inadequate compared to your peers in the business. Howard offers reassurance that the most talented people feel this way at times, and that steady hard work will get you over this psychological hurdle. Practice, practice, practice, she advises. “[I]t is your commitment to doing the work that will make you successful.” I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about starting a garden-design business, whether self-taught, as Howard is, or fresh out of school with a design degree. Howard is generous with her knowledge and practical with her advice. Experience, of course, is always the best teacher, but she may help you avoid some of the most common mistakes of running your own design business — or at least teach you how to conduct your business so that you can make things right when things go wrong, which is the most valuable lesson of all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Troy

    Unique book on the basics of what a career as a garden designer is like. Rather than focus on specific aspects of garden design (design principles, plant choices, etc) the author emphasizes the business end of garden design. The book is full of veteran knowledge ranging from the beginning to the end of a garden design career. How to get your foot in the door and pick up clients, how to grow, how to manage clients and subcontractors, working to your sterngths, collecting payments and much more ar Unique book on the basics of what a career as a garden designer is like. Rather than focus on specific aspects of garden design (design principles, plant choices, etc) the author emphasizes the business end of garden design. The book is full of veteran knowledge ranging from the beginning to the end of a garden design career. How to get your foot in the door and pick up clients, how to grow, how to manage clients and subcontractors, working to your sterngths, collecting payments and much more are covered in this book. Most enjoyable because few if no other books on this topic concern themselves with the business aspects. Well written with humor and occassional images to help make points.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    So You Want to Be a Garden Designer... an intimate look into the career challenges and successes of a Garden Designer. A personal description of daily projects for a variety of outdoor residential landscape projects led by a Garden Designer encompass the pages. Helpful tips for amateur and professional gardeners, the book is broad yet detailed in explanations of processes and client needs. Excellent images and illustrations.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Legustafson

    chock full o' information...and I have my own copy now. Thanks for writing a great business primer, Love. chock full o' information...and I have my own copy now. Thanks for writing a great business primer, Love.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Excellent read. Well written with personal anecdotes, helpful advice, realistic suggestions, etc. Of course, there's always room for more visuals, but that's just being greedy! Excellent read. Well written with personal anecdotes, helpful advice, realistic suggestions, etc. Of course, there's always room for more visuals, but that's just being greedy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lynn

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abid

  8. 4 out of 5

    Briana

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Farah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erryn

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jer

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Watson

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alek

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Randolph

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Spinola

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian Miller

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sabine Levrier

  25. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susanm

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yuba College Library

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kylee Baumle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Battersby

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  34. 5 out of 5

    Park Ridge Public Library

  35. 4 out of 5

    Book Lover

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