Skill Up with ASLA’s Practice-Focused Publications

Digital Guide for Plant Appraisal, 10th Edition, Revised / image: Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) periodically publishes reports and guides focused on key aspects of professional practice, many of which are free for ASLA members to access or available to members at a discounted rate. These include new resources added to ASLA’s Business Toolkit and more technical and in-depth Research Reports.

Below, we highlight a few of the more recent publications, from ASLA and ASLA partnerships, that you may have missed.

Digital Guide for Plant Appraisal

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), on behalf of the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (CTLA), has released the Digital Guide for Plant Appraisal, 10th Edition, Revised, available for purchase via ISA’s webstore.

The CTLA member organizations are: AmericanHort, the American Society of Consulting Arborists, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Association of Consulting Foresters of America, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Tree Care Industry Association.

In preparing the tenth edition of the Guide, the overarching goal of the seven CTLA organizations was to provide the appraiser with a systematic process for defining the appraisal problem, identifying appraisal approach(es), and developing a credible conclusion.

To meet this goal, the CTLA was guided by three objectives:

  • to build on and strengthen the approaches and methods presented in previous editions;
  • to lay a foundation for the concepts and principles of plant appraisal, as opposed to focusing only on methods; and
  • to align the concepts and terminology of plant appraisal with those employed in the general practice of appraisal.

Note: the Guide does not warrant nor is it intended to create any bias toward a specific appraisal approach and is not a comprehensive treatment of appraisals. It is a resource for appraisers to use along with all of their knowledge gained by education and practice as they work to solve the appraisal problem as presented.

For those that have purchased previous versions of the Guide, the digital version is offered at the discounted price of $30 until February 28, 2021. You can purchase the digital or book version of the Guide at

Please note that all of the forms included in the Guide are available in an electronic, fillable format on the ISA webstore under the Guide’s book description. There is no cost associated with the download or use of the posted forms.

ASLA 2010 Professional General Design Honor Award. Connecticut Water Treatment Facility, New Haven, Connecticut. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. / image: MVVA

The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration

The ASLA Professional Practice Committee created The Landscape Architect’s Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration with the intent of providing information, knowledge, and guidance to a sometimes unfamiliar and misunderstood facet of the profession. These guidelines reflect the breadth of construction contract administration services but are targeted toward tasks that are primarily landscape architectural in nature and would routinely be overseen by a landscape architect.

ASLA members may access the guidelines for free—just add the document to your cart and check out, using your ASLA member username and password.

Additional ASLA resources on construction contract administration:

From the A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground Research Report by Emily McCoy, ASLA. Installation of the automatic sampler intake at the bottom of the rain garden. / image: Emily McCoy

A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground

Landscape architecture is at a pivotal moment in its history as a discipline, where design practice is becoming more reflective, adaptive, and scholarly. As the need for sustainable design grows, it has become imperative that professionals put their work under analytical review and set higher standards for their work to perform environmentally, socially, and economically. The field looks more to the integration of research and scholarly inquiry in design as a solution to this growing need for high-performance landscapes. While the concept of landscape performance assessment is gaining attention within the field, the availability of time, resources, and technical expertise remains an obstacle for many designers in evaluating built work. More in-depth research investigations are best left to academics and scientists, but methods exist that every landscape architect can use to assess the performance of their own work for use throughout the planning, design, construction, and post-occupancy phases.

This paper by Emily McCoy, PLA, ASLA, SITES AP, Associate at Design Workshop and Associate Professor at NC State University, aims to provide an introduction to these metrics and methods that can be applied in the field.

Additional ASLA resources on landscape performance (the webinars listed below are all available through at a discounted rate for ASLA members):

ASLA Research Reports are a product of the ASLA Fund, and all reports are available for free to ASLA members.

ASLA Research Reports are also a convenient and affordable way to earn the professional development hours (PDH) needed to meet state licensure requirements. Each report enables you to earn Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)-approved PDH by completing and passing a self-study exam.

ASLA members may download reports for free on and purchase access to the exams to earn PDH via Non-members may purchase access to reports and exams via

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