Karen Sumek

San Diego, California, United States

Landscape Architect

Being a landscape architect gives you the opportunity to design a piece of property that not only meets your client’s expectations, but also contributes to protecting and enriching the environment.

I have been a landscape architect since 1996 and have worked for landscape architecture firms on large commercial projects and for myself on smaller residential and commercial projects. As a sole practitioner, I am responsible for all aspects of my business – marketing, scheduling, design, site observations, etc. I also teach a landscape architect computer software program, AutoCAD, at a local community college.

Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):

• How to gain the appropriate education in landscape architecture.
• How to know if landscape architecture is right for you.
• How to assess the costs of your landscape business.
• How to obtain clients you want.
• How to prepare drawings for your clients.
• Learn the basics of AutoCAD and computer graphics.

Every day I get to design a piece of land…..that is pretty exciting.


I studied landscape architecture in college and began working in the field after graduation. Early in my professional life, I worked on a wide variety of prestigious commercial projects including Disneyland, the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a very unusual assignment, the La Brea Tar Pits.

While I enjoyed the challenges of these large scale endeavors, I also recognized that smaller, private gardens were of great importance to me, and over time began to focus exclusively on custom residential landscaping solutions. I enjoy working on my own and having the opportunity to work with clients to design plans that meet their needs and respect the investment they are making.

I always give 110% in my work and am committed to open communications. I provide clients detailed contracts that outline the scope of the work and pricing, as well as drawings. I am committed to minimizing environmental impact by conserving water, using natural materials, green solutions, solar lighting, etc. My design work insures solutions that respect the environment and client’s wallets.

I enjoy helping to bring new people into the landscape design profession and sharing what it takes to become successful in the business, the various educational paths to get there, the requirements for licensing and the best resources for ongoing education and professional development.