What is there not to love about being a landscape architect? With it being both an art and a science, landscape architects can enjoy providing beautiful, yet environmentally sound landscaping services for their clients. Can you imagine picking out flowers and trees, mapping out pathways around gardens, orchestrating lighting, and building unique structures all in your job’s day-to-day? If that sounds like a good time, being a landscape architect might be a good career choice for you. Designing outdoor spaces for people to enjoy can be a very rewarding career. If this sounds good to you, keep reading to learn more about the landscape architect career.
Landscape architecture is the engineering and design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and artistic structures with the goal of creating an aesthetically pleasing environment for visitors. Landscape architecture creates outdoor spaces for city or government property that people can enjoy. It can involve many disciplines, depending on the extent of the project:
- Infrastructure engineering
- Urban design
- Environmental science
- Environmental psychology
- Fine arts
The combination of these disciplines allows landscape architects to create a space that is visually pleasing, eco-friendly, and space-efficient. More landscape designs are becoming more energy forward, prioritizing their ecological footprint, making sustainability a big part of landscape architecture, as well.
As landscape architecture as a career grows in popularity, you can expect to see more and more of it around your hometown and major city. Some popular examples of landscape architecture include:
- Botanical gardens
- Hotels, resorts, & zoos
- Public parks & spaces
- Landmarks & monuments
- Universities & government facilities
A landscape architect is a mastermind behind the landscape architecture project. This is a thoroughly trained, certified professional who coordinates the planning, designing, and development of the project. He or she may be responsible for managing a team that brings their project vision to life. Other responsibilities include analyzing the land, choosing plants and foliage, coordinating the construction, keeping everyone running according to schedule, and ensuring all building codes and permits are being abided by. Depending on the project, there may be a sustainability focus that the city/client would like to feature within the architecture, which brings a whole new aspect into the project.
Whether the client is a private or public company, a landscape architect will work with them on bringing their ideas to life. In the initial stages, the architect will discuss the client’s vision, coordinating a way to make it work within the outlined budget and timeline. The next steps of the process include drawing up the designs and sending them to the client for approval. In some cases, the architect will also have to build a 3-D model of the space. Once they have received the final sign-off, they can finally get to work on building out the project.
The next phase of the project will include collaborating with many different teams of people, such as:
- Land surveyors
- Biologists and natural scientists
- Community planners
While the landscape architect usually won’t be involved with the physical labor of the project, they will manage the teams that will be. They oversee the work and make sure all teams are following the plan and schedule accordingly.
Do you resonate with the responsibilities of a landscape architect? Do you think this career is a good match for you? If you’re artistic, confident, creative, analytical, and a good leader – becoming a landscape architect might be in the cards for you. Being passionate about project planning and management is a huge plus, too.
To become a landscape architect, you must have the proper education. Many institutions and universities offer bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs for landscape architecture. However, usually, a bachelor’s degree and some job training via internships are adequate.
Before starting their career, landscape architects must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination to receive licensure, but must also fulfill any licensing obligations required by the state in which they practice.
Depending on if you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree will determine how much time you will spend in school. A typical undergraduate program is 4-years, whereas graduate studies usually take 2 years in addition to the 4-year undergraduate program. You may take a semester or two during your studies to complete an internship or work-study program to get more experience under your belt.
A landscape architect’s average salary varies from state to state and depends on experience and expertise. How much money a landscape architect makes also depends on the extensiveness of projects they are managing. The average salary can start anywhere from $65,000 and up. Some landscape architects can make up to $120,000 per year. Unlike some other designers, landscape architects are paid per hour, as opposed to per project. Landscape architects are also not required to pay for the supplies, materials, or manpower needed to complete the project, so be sure to include that in your budget if you’re planning on hiring one.
To be a good landscape architect, you have to be creative, artistic, and innovative. You have to be comfortable organizing multi-step projects and confident when managing teams of people. You have to be good at time management, overseeing projects, and communicating ideas. If you have a passion for design, construction, and sustainability, becoming a landscape architect may be a good match for you! With a generous salary and reasonable education requirements, landscape architecture is a very promising career path.
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