Join APLD in Boston for the 2017 International Landscape Design Conference!

We’re headed back to where it all began! The birthplace of the American Revolution. The home of landscape design as a valued profession. And twenty-eight years ago, the place where the idea for APLD was born.


The speakers are world class, the garden tours are nothing short of amazing and the business panels will get you ready to embrace your business, your design work and the rest of your design year.


Online registration is now closed. Please register onsite when you arrive at the event.

Thursday, July 13

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a series of parks and gardens that was created as part of Boston’s “Big Dig.” Today, the Greenway encompasses gardens, plazas and tree-lined promenades. It is a key feature of the modern reinvention of Boston, the Harbor and the Waterfront. Our tour will be led by Darrah Cole, Senior Horticulturist and Designer. We will take a leisurely walk of the 1 ½ miles of parks and talk about history, design, programs, public art, major initiatives and organic horticulture. We’ll begin in Chinatown, stop about half way through for a water break, and finish in the North End. Questions are encouraged.

Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE

This hands-on workshop will give you the full DynaSCAPE Design experience with an introduction to the software. Intended for the beginner, you will be guided through a workflow-based approach of setting up your drawing for the first time, importing and scaling site surveys, touring the comprehensive plant and symbol libraries, understanding the layering system with preset line weights for every possible scenario and an introduction to the extensive set of time-saving drawing tools.

Eric Gilbey, Product Marketing Manager, Vectorworks

This working session will address one of the two most popular features in Vectorworks Landmark: planting design with plant objects and landscape areas. Going beyond simply placing plant symbols, participants will understand how Vectorworks’ Plant Objects and Landscape Areas can be customized with data, 2D graphics and 3D representations.

Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE

In this hands-on workshop, you will prepare a drawing for color rendering in DynaSCAPE Color, develop a plant picture catalog, planting schedule and material lists and create a full layout and dimension plan. You can use this all-in-one drawing to sell the project, estimate from and provide detailed measurements for your build crews.

Eric Gilbey, Product Marketing Manager, Vectorworks

This working session will address the second of the two most popular features in Vectorworks Landmark: terrain modeling. Going beyond simply drafting contoured topography, participants will discover how Vectorworks’ Site Models are created, modified and analyzed.

Design/Build: Donna Christensen, Founder, Christensen Landscape Services
Design Only: Matthew Cunningham, Principal, Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design
HR: Tom Fletcher, Human Resources, a Blade of Grass
Marketing & Social Media: Nick McCullough, APLD, Founder, McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery

Whether you’re a single person design-only office, a medium-sized design practice or a blossoming design-build firm, how do you recognize the need to grow your practice/business and what decisions do you need to consider for a successful outcome? Join us for a wide-ranging panel discussion on navigating the challenges and pitfalls of expansion. How do you find, recruit and retain good help? What additional income must you generate for added salaries, benefits and equipment? How do you leverage the newer social media platforms to expand your market and get to the clients you want? Our panel consists of speakers from companies of various sizes. Along with taking your questions, they will share with us their many years of experience as they’ve steered their companies through various growth spurts to become the successful businesses they are today.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

Friday, July 14

Patrick Chassé, Founder, Patrick Chassé, ASLA

The opportunity to design for a “natural” or unbuilt site is rare for most landscape designers. As cities, towns and the countryside are increasingly developed, the usual challenge is to add to or reinvent a design on an existing site. Patrick Chasse’s first professional design challenge was an ecological reconstruction and redesign of an existing home site over 45 years ago and his latest completed project with a historic house is also a “makeover.” Patrick will connect these projects, and some in between, in a continuum of the environmental, cultural, economic, political and aesthetic challenges of fitting new ideas into an existing landscape.

Travis Beck, Director of Horticulture, Mt. Cuba Center

Native plants can connect our designed landscapes to the larger natural world, provide high-quality habitat and dazzle us with their beauty; yet they bring with them a set of design challenges. Can a landscape of native plants meet client expectations? The answer is yes! Travis will show examples of beautiful native plantings in a variety of styles, from edgy urban to neatly formal. He will discuss defining “native” and the role of cultivars. He will also share design strategies to successfully select and combine native plants for year-round appeal.

Warren Leach, Landscape Horticulturist and Owner, Tranquil Lake Nursery

The energy and exuberance of spring is both much anticipated and unstoppable. Buds expand and burst into colorful flowers and unfurling leaves. This spring garden spectacle of flowers and luxuriant foliage need not be fleeting. Though by August, the heat and humidity may take its toll on the gardener, a garden designed with a plant palette to withstand the dog-days and drought of summer also offers a stunning exuberance of flowers, maturing seedheads and colorful foliage. Warren Leach will explore planting design in gardens that continue to dazzle from late summer, fall and onward.

Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Uniting the typically separate fields of botany, ecology and horticulture, Dr. Del Tredici will discuss a fusion of science and practice that has formed the basis for his research and teaching for over 40 years. With a focus on the projected impacts of climate change, globalization and urbanization on ecological processes in both native and designed landscapes, we will explore the types of plants that are likely to perform best under future conditions, and which ones meet Peter’s definition of what it means to be sustainable.

Publicist: Roberta Hershon, President, Blue Plate Communications, Inc.
Photographer: Eric Roth, Photographer
Editor: Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief, New England Home Magazine
Branding and Marketing: Mark Gallagher, Brand Expressionist, Blackcoffee

Have you ever wondered how projects become print, online and TV stories? It’s a lot more than luck and a great looking garden. Our panel will explain: how to choose and work with a publicist; how to create a compelling story line and narrative; what catches an editor’s eye; the importance of beautiful photographs and how to propel your ‘brand’ in the marketplace. Our experts will reveal the ins and outs of local, regional and national media coverage. We will conclude with a lively Q&A session.  

Garth Woodruff, APLD, Assistant Professor, Andrews University

“Place Making” is a social science that many designers understand mostly through visual meaning and less through the in-depth relationships that humanity has with ‘place.’ Designing spaces with place can raise the level of our designs and greatly increase our customer’s satisfaction with their landscape. Garth will answer the questions: How do we sense place? How relevant is it in our enjoyment of space… or life? What type of social impact do we tangle with as designers? Learn how ‘place’ has a place in every design.

Saturday, July 15

Julie Moir Messervy, Principal, Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio

Throughout her long career as a garden and landscape designer, author and presenter Julie Moir Messervy has always sought to create landscapes that resonate with beauty and meaning. In this talk, she shares the principles and processes she lives by for visioning, designing and building personal and private landscapes.

Using her firm’s projects as case studies, she interweaves personal stories with design theory and perspectives, as well as “befores and afters” and tips that apply to creating a beautiful garden and living a joyful life. Enjoy a two-part presentation:

Part I: Hearing the Stream with Open Eyes
The Mind of a Designer, Types of Designers, Form follows Feeling, Ways of Seeing, Framing and Re-framing, Creative Collaborations

Part II: Creating a Joyful Process
Understanding: Actual and Ideal Sites, Visioning: Dreaming the Big Idea, Developing: Lifescapes, Integrating: Journeymaking, Implementing: Building the Dream, Refining: Continuity and Change

Lunch included

Heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

Sunday, July 16

Lunch included

Monday, July 17

Lunch included

The post-conference tour travels to Rhode Island’s “Farm Coast” to visit Sakonnet Garden, a beautiful “secret garden” embedded within a native coastal fields landscape and the project of owners involved with global conservation education. The garden features thousands of rarely grown plants plus a pollinator garden. The tour will visit another local garden of merit and then travel on to Newport, RI to see The Blue Garden, a breathtaking great estate-style garden designed to classical proportions by the Olmsted Brothers in 1908. The Blue Garden was lovingly restored and reinterpreted for its current owner by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture.

Keynote Speakers

Patrick Chassé is an educator, landscape architect, ecologist, writer and landscape historian. He is Maine born and bred, and earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design after B.S. and graduate studies in biology, botany and environmental education from the University of Maine.

Patrick came to landscape design as a convergence of life paths in science and art. With training as a botanist and ecologist, his creativity had found outlets in printmaking, painting, glassblowing (studying with Dale Chihuly), ceramics, precious metalsmithing, photography and other media. Art history formed the matrix for the cross-cultural perspective he took on human expression, and landscape design proved to be the ideal medium for synthesis of his sensible sensibilities.

Mr. Chassé maintains an active design practice, specializing in historic landscapes, reconstruction of natural plant communities and design of new gardens in places as close as Mt. Desert Island, Maine and as far afield as Istanbul. He lectures at garden clubs, botanical gardens, cultural institutions and symposia across the country and abroad.

Julie Moir Messervy’s vision for composing landscapes of beauty and meaning is furthering the evolution of landscape design and changing the way people create and enjoy their outdoor surroundings. Julie is the principal designer of JMMDS, a landscape architecture and design firm in Saxtons River, Vermont, creators of parks and residential gardens around the country. Her best known work, the three-acre Toronto Music Garden, was designed in collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and received the Leonardo da Vinci Award for innovation and creativity.

Julie is a distinguished lecturer and the author of eight books on landscape design, including Landscaping Ideas That Work; Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love; and Outside the Not So Big House with Sarah Susanka. She has written numerous articles and gives lectures and workshops around North America.

Julie has a mission to use digital technologies to bring great design to anyone, anywhere. She created the Home Outside® online design service and Home Outside® landscape design app to do just that.


  • The APLD annual conferences are a terrific opportunity to learn from other members, from international design experts and from gardens in various geographic and cultural areas. The rich experience allows us to detach from our daily design work and to imagine new possibilities for our businesses and lives. Best of all is the opportunity to network with our peers.

    Cathy Carr, APLD
  • I utilize the APLD conference each year as a valuable learning tool for my design, business and personal growth. I particularly enjoy networking and sharing ideas with fellow APLD members who I find to be very talented and personally inspiring.

    Paul Connolly, APLD
  • It’s such a breath of fresh air to leave what you are doing and see how (great) garden designers work in different parts of the country with their own climates and plant materials. I also really relish meeting with scores of like-minded design professionals to exchange ideas, philosophies and business practices.

    Debbie Gliksman, Urban Oasis Garden Design
  • As a first time attendee, I enjoyed meeting and talking with so many talented and experienced designers and industry partners. Santa Fe was a beautiful setting for the conference and the garden tours were gorgeous and inspiring! The dine-around was also a great way to get to know more people in a casual atmosphere and discuss important topics. Well done!

    Erin Hutton, APLD Arizona Chapter
  • The networking and camaraderie of like-minded designers, the interesting and informative speakers, great hotels and food all combine for very worthwhile conferences.

    Sonya Becker
  • The conference is not something you make time for if you can, but rather it is something that you plan your schedule and budget around. It is a very important to your professional growth to be around other designers that you can interact with face to face, in gardens, in seminars, in conversations about life and work. Being at the conference builds you up in a way that magazine articles (and other continued learning) just can’t. It keeps us real and fills us up.

    Diana Grundeen