Inside the 2013 FLASLA Annual Conference & Expo

flaslaconference17-20Quality landscape architecture and hardscape design add great aesthetic value and curb appeal to homes, commercial properties, resort hotels and other land uses especially in the unique sub-tropical climate of South Florida. As a landscape architect in Delray Beach, I have the exceptional opportunity to analyze, plan, and design hardscapes and landscapes for some beautiful projects in South Florida. I know that beautifying and enhancing a home or commercial property is an interesting topic to many, and that there are numerous resources available to learn more about it. The 2013 FLASLA Annual Conference & Expo is is one source for professionals in the field. The conference is the premiere destination to gather information on the fascinating world of landscape architecture. I recently attended, and would love to give you an insider’s view of the conference.

The Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects holds the conference and expo in a different Florida city each year. This year it was held at the Vinoy Resort and Spa in St. Petersburg. With over 500 people in attendance, there were plenty of landscape architecture specialists to reconnect with and learn from. It was refreshing to see many of my colleagues gathered in one place, and great to trade occupational anecdotes with others who share my passion for landscape architecture.

One highlight of this year’s conference was the opening key note speaker, Story Musgrave. Mr. Musgrave applied his experience as an astronaut, surgeon, landscape designer, and horticulturist to the principles of landscape architecture. His speech was very interesting on a personal level, and informative on a professional level. There were many other speeches, tours, workshops, and expos to take in during the three day conference.

Emerging design trends is a particularly interesting topic among landscape architects, especially in Delray Beach as the city’s historical background dates back to 1895. Incorporating the history of a building or site can be important when designing a landscape. The restoration of several resort hotels, including the Vinoy was an informative presentation from an insider’s view. Updating garden attractions for contemporary use was another of the topics discussed. Combining tradition, innovation, and modernization creates an interesting and visually pleasing design for any landscape. Utilizing palms and cycads was also a topic of discussion. Native to tropical climates, these can sometimes be overused in South Florida landscape. When placed carefully, they add beauty and character to a landscape.

Tours of St. Petersburg’s historic Sunken Gardens, waterfront parks, museums, and downtown waterfront rounded out the conference. The 2013 FLASLA Annual Conference & Expo was informative as well as fun and I highly encourage anyone interested in south Florida landscape architecture to follow the annual event. You will be privy to a wealth of information regarding new products, and the practice of landscape architecture. Mixing and mingling with people who share common interests such as horticulture, botany, and design while taking in the local flavor is an added bonus.

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