Welcome to the Pacific Northwest-The Future

By Tom Lawson

Hello, my name is Tom Lawson, and I am your newest APLDWA Board Member-at-Large. And, I am a Mad Gardener.

A year and a half ago, my partner, Rob and I packed up, sold the house, and moved from Long Island, NY, to the Pacific Northwest. I had seen some parts of Seattle ten years earlier, when Rob was living in West Seattle, and had always heard that Seattle was the ‘best kept secret in the country’. I got it when I visited for two weeks that July; the great summer weather with NO HUMIDITY; the access to water, with stunning views in so many locations; the amount of energy people put into their gardens and outdoor spaces.

Since moving to Seattle, I have discovered a spirit of sustainability that is deeply imbedded in the culture of the PNW. Generations are now all onboard--sharing principles of sustainable development and creating businesses based in sustainable design. People are breaking with old traditions and carving out their spaces in ways that reflect their culture and character. Creativity and imagination are abundant and celebrated. The Future is a player, with a seat at the table.

The Specimen Madrone in by backyard that is now in my care. Stewardship starts in our own backyards.

I joined APLD in 2012 as a student, when I was studying at the New York Botanical Garden. When I completed my training, I became a full member of the NY chapter, serving as Secretary, and started my business in Landscape Design. I joined APLDWA last fall and started my business here in the PNW. I joined the APLDWA Board as a Member-at-Large earlier this year.

Landscape Design is a new career choice for me, my fourth. So, I am not only new to the PNW, but also to the Landscape Design industry. Starting out in a new business is a difficult process and APLDWA has been a tremendous asset. The Yahoo Group page has given me a place to ask questions and receive answers from an impressive, industry based, knowledge bank that cannot be replicated anywhere. The programs have been of great value for me, every one of them helping me with some aspect of setting up, developing and growing my business. The Emerging Professionals Program has been an amazing incubator for sharing knowledge and techniques for design as well as business operations, and a glass of wine. For me, it has been one of the most valuable assets of our organization.

The EPP strikes at the core of what APLD is about, sharing, mentoring, and learning what we can from one another. It is a sustainable tool, sharing knowledge and developing the value of Landscape Design into the future.

I think APLD is positioned to drive more sustainable options into the market place. We are some of the first to know about changes in the environment that are affecting the design choices we make. The Landscape Design industry is going through major changes across the country. We are all trying to facilitate the transition from an industry that has been tough on the environment to one that is its defender. I think APLDWA has the knowledge and experience to share with other professionals, and the client base that is willing to go the extra step for future generations.

People enjoying Lake Union and the spectacular views that are everywhere.

This is a great time to be in the PNW. The economy is booming. There is a wave of development trying to meet the needs of all the people and businesses moving to the PNW. People are committed here, to their passions and their politics. There are many new homeowners that will need our advice and ideas. There are many existing owners that now have the funds to do those projects they have always wanted. People here are environmentally aware and committed to doing what needs to be done to protect our environment. There is plenty of work to be done.

So, as someone who wants to be involved with sustainable development, I think the PNW is a great place to be. And APLDWA is a good place to learn and work together for the future.

Here’s to riding this wave, into the Future.