Why Be a Member?

By Leanne Goulding, Professional Member APLD

There are a myriad of advantages to belonging to APLD -- certification, advocacy, lobbying, and increasing the professional standing of our trade -- all good, altruistic reasons. But honestly what keeps me involved are much more self-serving reasons.

Designers supporting designers
What an incredible wealth of knowledge our membership has and shares willingly. The quality of exchanges on our Yahoo Group discussions is superb. I once asked for assistance with building a "floating" wood bench suspended on a concrete wall. Several designers shared ideas and one (thank you KM) took the time to sketch out a detail. It empowered me to design & build this fire patio. (Credit to Arterra, who originally designed the bench I copied.)

This level of exchange happens frequently both on the Yahoo Group, at Emerging Professional Program meetings as well as our other general events. The generous sharing of knowledge highlights the special characteristics of our membership. It works for all of us because we all inquire and contribute. What is the opposite of "dog eat dog"? Designers supporting designers.

A better designer
I am a notably better landscape designer for my time with APLD. Touring gardens created by other designers offers an abundance of ideas and inspiration. Preparing for certification has refreshed and reinforced essential design principles. Learning about new materials and methods, studying garden making in different countries, understanding the underpinnings of sustainable garden making all add to my tool box, enabling me to expand and be a better designer. I make better gardens for my clients because of APLD.

A wiser, more accomplished business person
Much of my professional success can be traced directly to the APLD events. Is Your Website Effective?, 50 Business Tips for Landscape Designers, The Thriving Landscape Designer and I Wish I Had Known That Earlier! are four that come to mind. The profitability of my practice has increased over 50% in the past four years. Those extra dollars are directly attributable to skills I have learned either from APLD events or from its members.

New clients and supporting our next generation of designers
After many years in landscape design, my business is mature and I am fortunate to be booked and unable to take on or even meet with many prospective clients. Over the years, I would estimate that I’ve referred 200 or more potential clients to other designers. Clearly not all these become projects but certainly some do. We have many designers in APLD who are earlier in their career cycle and appreciate the referrals and of course I only refer to APLD members. Additionally we all share business with people we know and trust and APLD is a prime source for this exchange. APLD has been a source of contractors as well as design and design support services.

In my practice as a sole proprietor some days are isolating (usually the ones when I get the most done). So it is an extra delight to spend time with kindred spirits with a common understanding of the joys, challenges and unique perspective we share. I count as personal friends many of the designers I’ve met through APLD.

Lively, fun, funny, entertaining, gregarious, delicious. Creative people are fun and we designers are creative. We enjoy good company and engaging conversation, served up with tantalizing food.

Why be a member of APLD? Why not?!