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Among the landscape architect designs in Denver (home ground for editor Vincent Carroll) featured in LASN is Confluence Park, landscape architecture by The Architerra Group.

Landscape Architects Like Barbers and Cosmetologists?

A Colorado opinion page editor has ridiculed the concept of licensure for landscape architects, comparing it to rules for "barbers, athletic trainers... (and) manicurists." offers you a chance to weigh in on the Rocky Mountain News piece.

On Dec. 27, Vincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages of the Rocky Mountain News, gave his opinion of the new licensing requirement for landscape architects in Colorado, under the heading "Lay of the land."

He addressed the "unnoticed irony in the announcement earlier this month of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' new slogan, 'Consumer protection is our mission.'" He notes that DORA (Division of Registrations) regulates "a broad array of businesses and professions – from dentistry to insurance – that most Coloradoans probably agree need some oversight." (Emphasis added by LASN.)

Mr. Carroll continues: "But if you go online to DORA's Division of Registrations, you'll also find in the list of licensed occupations such dire threats to public health and welfare as barbers, athletic trainers, cosmetologists, hairstylists, manicurists and my personal favorite, landscape architects." (Emphasis added by LASN.)

"Somehow Colorado survived for more than a century without a state board of landscape architects, but that unbearable oversight was corrected this year by our vigilant legislature. By New Year's Day, every landscape architect must be registered for the initial fee of $255 (and you just know that money will be put to good use, don't you?).

"Despite its billing, the new licensing program has very little to do with consumer protection and a great deal more to do with limiting competition and consumer choice. According to the new law, "Any person who practices . . . landscape architecture without an active license issued under this article commits a Class 2 misdemeanor." And the second offense is a felony.

"Won't you sleep better next year knowing that rogue landscape architects are now finally in the sights of our tireless prosecutors?"

It's interesting that Mr. Carroll bundles landscape architects in the same category with "barbers, athletic trainers, cosmetologists, hairstylists, manicurists." Cosmetologists earn an associates degree from a two-year college; athletic trainers may earn a B.S. in physical therapy or sports medicine, for instance. In other words, there is professional training. However, apparently Mr. Carroll has a misunderstanding of the professional training of landscape architects. Perhaps he thinks you become a landscape architect by buying a truck and driving down to the Home Depot to pick up some plants. We don't think he realizes the knowledge, the study and experience necessary to be a licensed landscape architect and the professional responsibilities and liabilities that go along with that title. We're pretty sure Harvard does not offer a masters in cosmetology, but it does have quite a decent masters program in landscape architecture, as does U.C. Berkeley, University of Virginia and Cornell, just to name a few, oh, and closer to home for Mr. Carroll, the University of Colorado in Denver.

We're fairly certain that Mr. Carroll also doesn't know that Vermont is the only state in the union that does not have landscape architecture licensing. Hmm, 49 states and Puerto Rico seem to get it, but not Mr. Carroll.

And were also certain he has never perused a book on the technical standards of landscape architecture, like the Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture, by Charles Harris and Nicholas Dines, for instance, a 928-page tome full of technical data pertinent to planning and designing.

Mr. Carroll believes it makes sense to regulate who sells him his car insurance, but not landscape architects that master plan Denver's public, commercial and private spaces.

Perhaps you'd like to email Mr. Carroll and tell him more about his "personal favorite, landscape architects." (Emphasis added by LASN.)

You can reach Vincent Carroll at

Editor's note: We placed the above editorial regarding Mr. Carroll thoughts on landscape architects on

Comments are already coming in:

Gabriel Hydrick of Yamasaki Landscape Architecture in Auburn, Calif. wrote:

"Lay of the Land in Medialand or is it Disneyland?"

Mr. Carroll: With every design and plan submitted and built the landscape architect exposes himself to many liabilities both public and private. Such liabilities come from federal, state and local realms, dealing with handicap access, pollution, sustainability, water conservation, building codes, etc. I invite you to pick up any one of these guidelines and thumb threw it to expose yourself to the strict design codes landscape architects must satisfy, thereby understanding liabilities we are exposed to and thereby understanding the need for some regulation. Having been raised in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (one of the most regulated regions in our nation) my whole life I have seen and experienced first hand the destruction that over-regulation can cause to individuals, families and a community. Here, I think we would agree this profession does require more than a pick-up, a Home Depot account and fluency in two languages.

Mr. Carroll, in our professional world (landscape architecture) we do not whistle while we work to the tune of "It's a Small World." The world in which we work has standards and guidelines that are very strict in order for all individuals to safely experience and enjoy public and private spaces. Unlike other 'professions' that do not require accountability and responsibility, we as professionals want to be accountable for our actions, designs and talents, thereby requiring some regulation so appropriate consequences can be executed.

Please send my best to Mickey.

Martin Sikorski, PLS, CLA, PP, CPSI, chief of survey, VHB, Inc., Edison, N.J. wrote:

Unfortunately it would seem that Mr. Carroll's statement was made out of ignorance of what is required to obtain and maintain professional licensure. Possibly Mr. Carroll would support eliminating those frivolous licenses for doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. What a waste of money that is. More unfortunate is the fact that Mr. Carroll is in a position to make ignorant statements that have the ability to reach a wide audience. Maybe the next license for Colorado should be for editors?

Re: "PVCs on the Playground" in the Dec. issue:

We really appreciate the exposure you bring to this important topic through your editorial focus. There is no doubt that your readers should know about the concerns associated with the use of PVC on commercial play equipment and you do them a great service by providing it in this way. Here's to a PVC-free future!

Scott Ramsey, BigToys

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December 9, 2019, 10:16 am PDT

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