I've just finished reading 'Outliers - The Story of Success' by Malcolm Gladwell. It's not at all about anything garden related. But the second chapter - titled The 10,000-hour Rule - made me curious about its applicability to gardens and their design. I estimated how much time I've spent over the years working in gardens, reading about plants, gardens, garden history, garden design, taking garden design related courses at U of G, and so on. I figure I passed the 10,000-hour threshold two or three years ago. That seems to coincide with when, IMO, the garden I've created became more focused and close to the image I've long been carrying in my head as to what the garden should become.
It all made me wonder where/when in the career of a professional designer do you cross the 10,000-hour level, and do you notice a difference in the quality of what you design after you reach that point? Do you look back on the gardens you designed early in your career and think how much better you would design those gardens if you were doing them now? I would guess that someone in a Landscape Architect program might well cross the 10,000-hour limit during their education and training phase while someone in a shorter education program wouldn't pass the limit until they had been practising for a few years. So would a logical conclusion be that to get roughly equivalent expertise you could hire a young LA or a non-LA designer with a few more years of experience? I wonder how specific the 10,000-hour threshold would be - if the LA did mainly commercial work, does the hours spent on that equate seamlessly to someone who accumulated their 10,000 hours designing smaller private gardens?
Or is the 10,000-hours theory/observations applicable at all?