Anyone familiar with New York City would agree that the it wouldn't be what it is today without Central Park. In 1857, Frederick Law Olmstead – the father of American landscape architecture – submitted the Greensward Plan as the winning design for the park. Nestled among an urban environment of stone, concrete, and steel, the park provides natural open space, scenic vistas, civic amenities, and a place for relaxed social interaction.

Most people associate the tasks of designing park spaces and selecting plant materials as the basic services provided by a landscape architect, but the profession is much broader and includes analyzing, planning, designing, managing, preserving, and rehabilitating the land.

A landscape architect not only designs roof top gardens, playgrounds, and hiking trails, but also is involved in regional and urban planning, environmental restoration, sustainable design, and historic preservation. They are primarily involved with integrating the built environment of buildings, neighborhoods, and cities with the underlying natural environment, and like architects, they are committed to improving the quality of life through design.

Successful Design Whether the project is a simple home addition or a major urban renewal plan, the design process requires the same elements and disciplines. For multifamily developers, landscape architecture is typically a critical aspect of the project. As a completed project becomes available for occupancy, the immediate curb appeal will have dramatic impact on lease-up/sales and short-term profitability.

No matter how appealing, a multifamily community will look barren and stark if the buildings aren't carefully placed and integrated with the landscape. Buildings are usually designed for minimal maintenance – appearances may change when a new coat of paint or a new roof is needed. On the other hand, the natural environment is constantly changing, responding to the seasons. Natural, graceful grading and plant material that accentuate the building forms are the keys to a successful project.

A well-executed landscape design also maximizes investment dollars in the long term. Selecting and locating appropriate plant materials can minimize maintenance and replacement costs. As natural materials grow and mature, the beauty and attractiveness of a community is enhanced. The overall result is a strong factor for increasing equity through above average property value growth. A successfully designed community will look fabulous on day one – and still have an appealing, comfortable, "lived-in" appearance 10 years later.