APLD Spring Membership Drive

Membership Drive Announcement

1/12/14 Design as an Ecological Art

APLD’s Landscape Design as Ecological Art (with Darrel Morrison) Workshop

Registration is now open.  Register now before it is advertised to non-APLD designers.

Sunday, January 12, 2014  (Weekend before CENTS)

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

5.5 APLD CEUs, 1 OCNT Credit, 7 Landscape Industry Certified

Join Darrel Morrison for this inspirational and fun workshop.  Morrison will be discussing the relationship between ecology and design and will show examples of his work in which art and ecology intersect.  The workshop will include a series hands-on quick design concept studies and musical exercises to provide initial designs, which will then be translated into preliminary planting plans for a hypothetical site.  Students should bring 18” tracing paper, chalk pastels, colored pencils, triangles/circle templates and their creative minds.

$195 on/before Dec 30/ $235 after

Darrel Morrison, FASLA, is a longtime advocate of the use of native vegetation in landscape design and restoration work. He taught in the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Wisconsin for 14 years where his emphasis was on native plants, native plant communities, and landscape restoration. Subsequently, he taught in the School of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia where he served as Dean from 1983 to 1992. Currently, he lives in New York City and continues his private landscape practice.

When you get to the CENTS website, hit the ‘Education’ tab, then ‘Events’, then ‘Education’, then ‘Pre Convention Workshops’, and finally choose ‘ APLD’s Landscape Design as Ecological Art.’

10.4 Acres of Green Roof

On Thursday, August 1 myself and three lovely ladies who have been working hard with me to put on the 2013 International Design Conference starting tomorrow were granted a spectacular morning.  Through are association of putting this conference together, we had a private tour of the Ford Rouge plant  in Dearborn.  This isn’t the same tour you get through the Henry Ford Museum.  We got special access to places most people cannot get to, even employees in the plant.  What amazing weather to be on one of the world’s greatest environmental wonders.

20130801_112319 Ford DTP Aerial 2008-04-11 DTP Relaxed Mom 2013-08-01 11.18.15 2013-08-01 11.05.35 2013-08-01 11.15.02 2013-08-01 11.05.19

Segways in Detroit

Over a year ago the idea of doing a Segway tour of Downtown Detroit for the conference was brought to my attention.  Maureen Kearn’s new company, Segways2U (, was featured in a local newspaper (not sure if it was the News or Free Press).  It definitely started to draw interest with the Local Site Committee (LSC).  None of us ever had experience with Segways, but thought it would be a quick way around Downtown to see all of the sites that we had in mind.  Walking would not be a possibility with the limited time that we had. We definitely wanted to show landscape designers from around the country everything Detroit had to offer: the good, the bad, and the unique.

On Friday, June 21, myself (Steven D. Thoms) and Mildred Hurley, LSC Tour Captain went on a pre-tour.  We met each other at the GM Renassiance Center to our amazement downtown was crazy with people.  I hadn’t heard about it before arriving but River Days was happening along the RiverWalk.  This was both exciting and scary.  Exciting to see people downtown but also leary about operating a Segway with so much pedestrian traffic.


We were both hesitant getting on these peculiar looking pieces of equipment.  The safety video that Maureen showed us displayed people riding on these as easy if they were walking down the sidewalk but it also was scary with the possible incidents that could happen.  Maureen was very helpful in describing everything and taking us outside the RenCen to get us acquainted with her machinery.  It was to our amazement that we both caught on very quickly and off we went into the city.

We left the RenCen and headed into the mobs of people enjoying the festivities along the Detroit River.  We avoided going directly on the RiverWalk and used the bike path on the street that runs parallel with the river.  We quickly made our way onto the Dequindre Cut enjoying the smoothness of the new asphalt.  This path was much less populated than along the river which gave me a chance to open up the Segway and top it out at the 12mph max.  We enjoyed watching the landscape maintenance crew work on the grounds and the planned graffiti at various points while traveling along this part of the tour.

We quickly made it to Gratiot trying to maneuver our way to the Eastern Market area.  We later found out from Maureen that there was an easier path to travel.  As we came to the end of a overpass over the old rail road tracks, Mildred forgot how to stop and continued to move past the street that led us to the urban garden of Greening of Detroit.  Mil got control again and caught up with me so we could view the gated gardens.  Although it is still early in the growing season, we can only imagine what the gardens will look like in early August for the conference.  We then made our way over to Eastern Market which was quiet on this Friday afternoon.

We started our track back to downtown trying to take in the sights.  I’ve driven and walked downtown, but the Segways just gave me a whole new perspective of this “Great American City”.  We were surprised how quickly we had made it to this point of the trip, so we decided to go off course a little.  Once we made it to Woodward, we headed North towards a different crowd, baseball fans.  The stadium district was hopping with Tiger fans and the hard-to-believe Boston Red Sox fans.  Yes, you read that right.  Many (I mean I saw 100+) in our short journey.  If you are from another city that might not sound funny, but unless it was a playoff game people don’t travel from other cities to come to Detroit.  You might get the occasional driving fan from close cities such as Cleveland, Toronto or Pittsburgh but this was completely different.

2013-06-21 17.31.29

Mil and I than made our way past the filming site of the upcoming Transformers movie and onto our way to the headquarters of DTE Energy and the MGM Casino.  We enjoyed the massive water feature that is on the DTE campus and took a quick peak at MGM’s vegetable garden.  We then headed over to Lafayette Gardens.  Mil and I were really noticing our feet were getting fatigued.  Even though we weren’t walking, the way the Segways work is your feet/ankles do the accelerating/braking.

Segway Pretour3

Just as we were heading back to the front entrance at the GM Ren Cen we noticed there was a son and father completing their tour of the city.   Mil started a conversation with them and it was obvious they were from Boston.  They had stated that they were having so much fun on their visit to Motown.

We hope you can join us for APLD’s annual International Design Conference August 2 – 5, 2013.  Early bird registration closes in just a short time so cash in.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Steven D. Thoms, APLD, CGIP, CLP

President and Founding Member of APLD-MI

2013 APLD International Design Conference LSC Chair


APLD-MI Welcomes New Gold Sponsor

Providing our members with value for their membership and attracting new members is a costly endeavor.  The small amount we receive for the chapter membership dues is a very small portion of our budget.  Our chapter has been able to advertise, sponsor educational opportunities, and have a nice trade show booths because of our generous sponsors.  In early June, a new generous company has become a Gold Sponsor – Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.  The company the builds the “Finest Outdoor Kitchen Equipment” is known throughout the country for its grills, refrigerators, ovens and cabinets.  Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourment is based in Chicago but hand builds its stainless steel pieces of art right here in our state in the city of Kalamazoo.  Please check out their website at  Thank you for your support in advancing the profession of landscape design and promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals.

MGIA Trade Show and Convention

Another year of our presence at Michigan Green Industry Association’s annual Trade Show and Convention in Novi, Michigan. We are making our organization known to the 1000’s of landscape contractors wondering the isles looking for newest supplies, equipment and companies to help them prosper in 2012.  We always get a lot of interest but I see action in the future.  Designers who might actually pull the trigger to join.  Not having the attitude of someday when the economy is better.  Because it is better………


significantly!  Along with the excitement of the 2013 APLD International Design Conference coming to Detroit, I can see our membership doubling in the next 18 months.  Not that numbers are our focus, but with more people joining the forces it will make all landscape designers life easier.  Our booth looks great.  If you haven’t stop by yet to talk with us, please do so.  Booth number 131.

Chapter President’s Symposium

I, Steven Thoms, APLD am currently waiting at the Philadelphia airport for my connecting flight to Harrisburg, PA to attend the annual chapter symposium. This year the event was limited to only one member of each chapter, preferably the president but the vp could attend if the president wasn’t available. I hope to bring back some great knowledge in how I can help the chapter under my last year of leadership. Stay tuned for more details on my return tomorrow evening.

Returned from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania late last night after attending the APLD Chapter President’s Symposium.  It is also great to put faces with e-mail names and to put the great people involved with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.  I defiintiely got a lot of great ideas for our Michigan Chapter and the 2013 APLD International Design Conference that will be held right here in Detroit, Michigan.  Surprisingly there was A LOT of EXCITEMENT within this group of 20 or so people.  There were a few members who stated their hesitation about coming to Detroit, but that was good to know for marketing purposes.  I think we will always find that challenge being from Detroit.  Look forward to our Local Site Committee meeting this month and our membship meeting in March to share my experience.

“Plan and Plant with Panache, How to Work with A Landscape Designer”