What you need to know
Landscape architects design parks and the outdoor spaces of campuses, recreational facilities, businesses, private homes, and other open spaces.
Landscape architects spend much of their time in offices, where they create plans and designs, prepare models and preliminary cost estimates, and meet with clients and workers involved in designing or planning a project. They spend the rest of their time at jobsites.
Some of the things landscape architects might do:
- Meet with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand the requirements of a project
- Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
- Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
- Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
- Select appropriate landscaping materials
- Analyze environmental reports on land conditions, such as drainage and energy usage
- Inspect landscape project progress to ensure that it adheres to plans
- Seek new work through marketing activities or by giving presentations
- Analytical skills. Landscape architects must understand the content of designs. When designing a building’s drainage system, for example, landscape architects must understand the interaction between the building and the surrounding land.
- Communication skills. Landscape architects share their ideas, both orally and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Effective communication is essential to ensuring that the vision for a project gets translated into reality.
- Creativity. Landscape architects create the overall look of gardens, parks, and other outdoor areas. Their designs should be both pleasing to the eye and functional.
- Problem-solving skills. When designing outdoor spaces, landscape architects must be able to provide solutions to unanticipated challenges. These solutions often involve looking at challenges from different perspectives and providing the best recommendations.
- Technical skills. Landscape architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs to create representations of their projects. Some also must use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for their designs.
- Visualization skills. Landscape architects must be able to imagine how an overall outdoor space will look once completed.
The average pay for landscape architects in the United States ranges from $42,320 to $112,290 as of May 2019.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of landscape architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The need for planning and developing new and existing landscapes for commercial, industrial, and residential construction projects is expected to drive employment growth.
In addition, environmental concerns and increased demand for sustainably designed buildings and open spaces should spur demand for the services of landscape architects.
For example, landscape architects are involved in the design of green roofs, which are covered with vegetation and help reduce air and water pollution as well as decrease the costs of heating and cooling a building.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture is usually necessary for entry into the profession. There are two undergraduate landscape architect professional degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). These programs usually require 4 to 5 years of study.
The design studio is a key component of any curriculum. Whenever possible, students are assigned real projects, providing them with valuable hands-on experience. While working on these projects, students become proficient in the use of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), model building, and other design software.
Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Landscape Architecture.