The Landscape Design Association started in a suburban basement with 8 members in 1988. We are now 180 strong! LDA exists as a resource for members to improve their skills as landscape professionals. We provide opportunities within the organization for networking, mentoring and sharing information. LDA hosts many events throughout the year. We strive to preserve the past, promote the future development of landscape design and adhere to sustainable landscape practices. Our membership operates in the greater Chicagoland area and surrounding communities. We are comprised of Designers, Contractors, Landscape Architects, Garden writers and Instructors/Lecturers. Together we provide services that range from complete design, build and maintenance to design only or maintenance only. We are sure that you will be able to find a professional for your landscape needs.
We encourage designers of all experience levels to join our association. We are happy to speak with you personally. You are welcome to call any of our current board members with questions or comments.
Past president and a founding member, Pam Duthie recalls the early history of Landscape Design Association in the below listed article.
20 Years of History!
The Landscape Design Association began very humbly in 1988-89 by just 8 women who had met each other at landscape design symposia and classes at Chicago Botanic Garden. We started by meeting informally in homes to network over questions of business management, professional development and educational opportunities. Taimi Anderson and Helene James were the chief ‘instigators’ and we got together in their living rooms. Taimi, who was an instructor at CBG, gave us our first name – Landscape Design Group – and is now director of education at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Raleigh. Helene, although no longer a member of LDA, has served on the Women’s Board of Chicago Botanic Garden.
When the group began there was no School of the Chicago Botanic Garden or any other local design programs available. Taimi Anderson, Helene James, Kathleen Bruch, and Maryjane Klein were instrumental in working with CBG to start a school for continuing education in the landscape design field.
Of the original ‘Landscape Design Group’ from 1988-89, Cheri Allen, Kathleen Bruch, Pam Duthie, Nancy Hannick, Maryjane Klein, and Margaret Morris are still active and supportive members of LDA Maryjane, Margaret, and Pam have served as president while Cheri, Kathy, and Nancy have fulfilled other board positions. Nancy Hannick, Margaret Morris and Pam Duthie originally wrote the by-laws and the association was later registered as a ‘Not-for-Profit’ organization. In those early years, everyone ‘pitched in’ $5.00 to cover mailing expenses which was our only form of communication at the time. Hey, we did not have the Internet then!
In November 1990, we elected our first officers and became more official. As we continued to grow by ‘word of mouth’ with our friendly manner of networking so did some of our expenses, and membership dues were increased to $25.00. During the following four years we met in my [Pam Duthie’s] basement because we had grown too large to fit in living rooms, and chairs were borrowed from my Church to accommodate the nearly 40-60 people who were regulars at meetings. Rich Eyre and Galen Gates were among some of our speakers there! As a reflection of this growth, we changed our name to Landscape Design Association. Finally, in 1997, we began renting space at places like Chicago Botanic Garden – our membership was then about 80 and dues went up to $50.00. In 1995 LDA offered its first Associate membership.
Pam Duthie started the LDA newsletter in 1992. It earned its current name “Covering Ground” in 2002 from ‘competition winner’ Kathy Robin. Karen Koerth joined LDA in November 1998 and promptly became newsletter editor with then member Harriet Kelly. Margaret Morris instituted the membership directories in 1995.
The LDA Board approved the first dues increase in 10 years at its January 2007 meeting to be effective for 2008. This increase was driven by the costs of the website operation, liability insurance, and honorariums to program and workshop speakers. These areas have added significantly to the budget, along with gradual increases in other operating expenses. And now in 2009 we have a beautiful new, interactive website and are providing the quarterly newsletter digitally. Not only is this form of publication "greener" but we can now provide COLOR and photography. I can’t help but say, “We’ve come a LONG WAY!”
-Pam Duthie, The Gifted Gardener
Today, LDA membership has grown to 180 and currently provides numerous educational programs and social/networking events throughout the calendar year, including workshops by leading designers, graphics experts and landscape professionals. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of its members our association continues to grow in support of the landscape design profession.