So now you’ve got the button. What about a booth? This is something ASLA does at national trade shows, but it could easily be replicated at the chapter level at garden shows, nurseries, Home Depot, Lowe’s, or even at the Barnes & Noble stores during NLAM. It’s basically a 6’ long table, counter height, with a custom tablecloth that says “Ask a Landscape Architect” on it. Recruit member volunteers to staff it and we have easels and sketch pads there for them. People come by and ask about specific landscape architecture issues and get a short, free consultation. The LAs sketch, which brings folks in the booth, then they ask them a bunch of questions to get them started thinking about possibilities for their projects.
The costs are minimal. If the chapter plans it in time, the garden show might give them free space in exchange for doing it because it will drive traffic to the show. The tablecloth is around $100 and table, chair, easel rental is minimal. Sketch pads and pens are cheap. These garden shows are in almost every community in the U.S. and are fabulously popular with the general public. For example, the one in DC draws 14,000 attendees. Some may view this activity as being too “residential,” but the point is that the general public is wildly interested in this topic, so it’s a great opportunity to engage. Depending where you set up shop for NLAM or even during 04.26.12 activities the same booth can be set up on the street with high traffic. During 08.17.11 the firm Planning Resources, Inc. in Illinois gained a client meeting her on their river walk draw-off by telling her just what a landscape architect can do.
Carrying around a cardboard cutout of Olmsted and taking him with me to the Washington Monument – a gentleman stopped during his run to ask me how he could hire a landscape architect. I directed him to Firm Finder of course.
Now go google “garden show” and find hundreds. Either that or set up a booth at a location near you. Remember they’re asking about landscape architecture so start telling! You gotta get them asking and they might start hiring.