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Establishing an Ecological Focus for Your Firm


This one-day course guides landscape architects, designers, contractors, and others through what’s needed to establish a respected, visible presence in the fields of ecological landscape design and management. Gain a new understanding of local plant communities. Learn about design projects modeled on regional ecosystems and how they were conceived and implemented. Acquire practical techniques for self education, credentials establishment, and effective communication with clients and stakeholders. Join us to grow your skills and your business!






Demand for ecologically beneficial landscapes represents a bright spot for an industry struggling in a depressed economy. Businesses with an ecological focus realize many benefits, from an expanded client base to an invigorated creative atmosphere. Having an ecological approach, however, requires knowledge and skills rarely taught in horticulture and design programs.


Welcome to APLD-Michigan

I have been honored to have received this pleasure of leading the Michigan Chapter of the APLD since it was formed in 2009.  I have a great team whom are willing to put the time in to make this organization one that the landscape industry can benefit from.  I thank each and every one of you who have put in time to make this possible. 

If you are not a member, you should really consider joining us.  Why?  you are asking.  I know many of you already belong to some or many other associations/organizations.  I know the economy is very difficult and you have to watch every dollar.  I know you are wondering what you can benefit from joining our group.

I joined APLD way back in 2001.  When times were good.  The only real reason I joined was to attain my Certification for Landscape Design.  I desired this certification mostly for marketing purposes.  Now after being a member for 10 years I have realized many more benefits.  Here are the benefits that I have received from both the International and chapter level.

  • Clients.  The “new” is great for consumers looking for landscape designers in a specific area.  International has worked really hard over the last year to make the new site very easy to navigate, especially for consumers looking for a professional.  Not only does this site list your name, but you have a lot of control over what other information is provided about yourself.  This is especially helpful for designers who do not have their own website.
  • Education.  Let’s face it, the world is moving extremely fast and the competition is always getting greater.  We need to do everything we can do to maintain or move to the  top.  We need to know the hottest plants, the latest construction material, and what the next fad is.  Sometimes we as designers can get stuck, creating the same type of designs over and over.  APLD’s annual conference can inspire creativity to new levels.  This week-long event brings some of the industry’s biggest names along with some amazing first hand visits to gardens.  2010’s conference was in Dallas in which I was unfortunately unable to attend.  I definitely am planning to be in Cleveland in June 2011.  Along with this conference, APLD International and APLD-MI offer other events.  Please visit and the Events page of this site.
  • Networking.  I totally got this benefit once the Michigan Chapter was formed.  I gain so much by being in a same room with other designers for a few hours bi-monthly.  This benefit would only expand with more members taken part of events.

If you  get one new client a year, it is worth the membership fee.  Plus with all the other  benefits mentioned above,  you will definitely get a good return on investment.  Please consider joining us.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Steven D. Thoms, APLD, CLP, CGIP