Landscape Architecture Portfolio – 10 Things You Should Include
Article by Tahio Avila
We explore 10 things you should include in your landscape architecture portfolio .
The nicest thing about beginning a design career is that you have fresh ideas and you are ready to participate in a project or in getting a job done. But is your portfolio as ready as you are?
Preparing a great landscape architecture portfolio can be a piece of cake for some and a pain in the backside for others. As designers, we should be ready to “build” a portfolio right after we finish school or, even better, start working on it at the beginning of our school life. But sometimes we leave this step to the last minute — and that’s when trouble begins.
A landscape architecture portfolio is not only a list of works we have done, it’s also the reference for who we are as designers. A portfolio highlights our work and serves as our presentation card. That’s why it is a very important item to update constantly and care about.
Today, we are going to give you 10 topics to include in your landscape architecture portfolio, so that you can start building it or update it easily.
Landscape Architecture Portfolio
1. Sketches and Graphic Process
Even if we cannot live without technology, hand drawings and sketches are something that — in my opinion — technology shouldn’t replace. Maybe someday it will; there are a lot of programs that simulate hand drawing nowadays. But all of us have a distinctive way of sketching, and that is a plus that will make your landscape architecture portfolio stand out and show your personality as a designer.
You can add sketches of an already known project, landscape, or building; personal projects; and the graphic process you used to conceptualize your projects.
2. Written Description
This section will depend on the approach you want to take with your portfolio and whom you want to send it to. You can write a brief description of each project’s location, size, budget, team members; and collaborations. You can write about a project’s details or give a full description of the project and what inspired you in the design process. If the project was part of a contest in which you participated or won, you should write about that, too.
3. Technical Drawing and Graphic Design
As I said before, nowadays we cannot live without technology, and it’s become a very important part of our design process. Floor plans, sections, elevations, details, perspectives, and renders should be included so that you can show the project in a clear and dynamic way to your future employer. Still, my advice is to not overload pages with too much technical stuff. You should keep in mind that you also want to show your landscape architecture portfolio to future clients who may not be a part of the design industry. It has to be clear for them, too.
4. Using a Styleboard is Always a Good Idea
A styleboard is another way to show the creative process of your projects. This is a one-page board with a collection of images, from sketches to plant selection, that demonstrates how the project was formed, how you wanted it to look, and how you got to that specific idea. It’s simple and easy to put together and it always looks good. It also works if you want to make a quick presentation of your projects.
5. Before and After Photos
If you have developed a project from beginning to end, this is a perfect opportunity to show all of the work you have done. Depending on the magnitude of the project, you can use before and after photos to make a statement about, for example, how a small area changed. But if you are showing a big project, it is better to emphasize the finished work.
6. Be Unique
Highlight the unique thing in your design. It could be an old tree, a path made with a particular material or ornamental shrubs, a specific selection of flowers, a water line, etc. The thing that makes your project stand out will catch the eye of your future employer.
7. Be You!
Landscape architecture portfolio can turn into a “generic” thing very fast, and we don’t want that. You have to show all of your potential in a few pages, so it’s very important to show your style, design methods, influences, and inspirations. All of this will make your portfolio stand out from the rest.
8. Plant Selection Should Be Exciting!
Plant selection can draw a lot of attention if you know how to display it. You can design a “timeline” with information about all the plants you have used in your projects and arrange it in accordance with their colors and flowering time. It is also nice to see a project with a full-color bloom, plant selection images, and perspectives. The magic word in this topic is: Color!
9. Define a Scheme
A background scheme will help you modify your landscape architecture portfolio faster. Your portfolio is constantly growing, so defining a scheme will make it easier to change. You never know when you’re going to be applying for a new job. If you like white backgrounds, I would recommend that you organize your projects in a consistent way, defining a fluent structure that will make your portfolio flow.
10. Tell Them About You
A landscape architecture portfolio is a compilation of your best work. In comparison to a Curriculum Vitae, you can put all the images you want, but it also has to contain important information in case people ask only for your portfolio in an interview. If you have worked as a landscape architecture writer, participated in contests, or collaborated with some important companies, people should know about it. Your potential as a designer is already demonstrated in your projects. Let them read about the most important things in your career, too.
Your Landscape Architecture Portfolio
A landscape architecture portfolio should be an instrument that helps you communicate. Make it a part of you and keep it updated. Even if you’re not looking for a job, it will help you describe your work in a better way.
Did you have any troubles making your portfolio? Tell us about it.
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Article by Tahio Avila
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