Students bloom at national landscape competition

Among the best in the nation

Even the most skilled athletes rarely compete against more than 680 other competitors and win. Just entering such a contest requires determination and skill, and Anna Cordiner a senior studying Landscape Design and Contracting at Colorado State University, found herself overcoming such a daunting field. Cordiner was part of a CSU team that competed at this year’s National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an event that saw the CSU team finish 4th out of 63 teams and Cordiner finishing first overall among all individual competitors.

The entire CSU team was set up for success at this year’s competition, which is broken down into nearly 30 individual events. Cynthia Bachman finished first out of 72 students in the Plant Problems Diagnosis competition. Morgan Wiese also enjoyed a first place finish in the Exterior Landscape Design event against 42 other competitors. Overall, a top five finish for the CSU team is not surprising. Students representing CSU made the top 10 in their respective individual events 18 times.

“I cannot thank my teammates or coaches enough for all of their efforts. Everyone worked extremely hard,” said Cordiner. She has participated in the event for three years, and her area of expertise ranges from annual and perennial plant identification to business management and employee development.

Emphasis on professional development

Like many of her peers, Cordiner gravitated to the Landscape Design & Contracting and Landscape Business Concentrations at CSU because the programs offer professional and networking opportunities other majors didn’t. The emphasis placed on professional development helps students find positions in their chosen career paths when they leave CSU.  Cordiner recently accepted a design associate position with Lifescape Colorado, a landscape design and construction company in Denver, Colorado.

The CSU team was coached by Zachary Johnson and Elizabeth Hobbs, both associate professors in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

“Preparing for the competition teaches students how to network and connect with other people, while they become more proud of their profession and gain self-confidence,” said Johnson.

Connecting students with professionals

Participating in the event connects students with professionals in the landscape industry and gives them the opportunity to see the world’s largest green industry career fair. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event which is organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). NALP is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. NALP members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices, and business professionalism. Many of NALP’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. Visit NALP at

CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

To learn more about these two great concentrations, Landscape Design & Contracting and Landscape Business, both within the Environmental Horticulture major please visit the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture’s website. More information on the National Collegiate Landscape Competition can be found at the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ website.