From the Garden of Versailles to New York Central Park, landscape architects blend science, art, and vision to bring out unparalleled aesthetics that elicit strong feelings of connection in us. Landscape architects work to understand the environment, to see how designed structures can fit seamlessly with nature. Consequently, landscape architects are the brains behind wildlife habitat design, landscape planning and management, and urban design.
But what does it take to become a landscape architect? In the post, we’ll explore how you can become one.
What Landscape Architects Do?
Land architects focus on the design of outdoor spaces, including parks, recreational facilities, campuses, business, and private homes. They work with clients – and when necessary, architects and engineers – to determine the client’s need. Based on this, they work out a landscape design plan with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software, factoring in the client’s budget. After the approval of their plan, they monitor the execution of the project to ensure it adheres to the design plan.
A landscape architect’s day-to-day duties might include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their needs
- Surveying sites to understand the natural environment
- Using CAD packages to draw up ideas for clients to choose from.
- Preparing contracts and managing the tendering process for contractors
- Writing reports and environmental impact assessments
- Monitoring the progress of projects.
Becoming a Landscape Architect
Step 1: Research Landscape Architect Requirements
Becoming a landscape architect requires certain skill sets. Certain technical skills include a grasp of geography, science, horticulture, engineering, mathematics, and art. Soft skills required by landscape architects include attention to detail, creativity, interpersonal skills, leadership, IT, and teamwork. If these related skills are your strong points, then landscape architect might be the ideal career for you.
Step 2: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
You must possess a bachelor’s degree to meet the minimum requirement to become a landscape architect. You can enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) or Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) program. Ensure the program is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) in whatever school you opt for.
Students of landscape architecture are exposed to a wide range of subjects, including landscape ecology, landscape design, site design, plant, and soil science, among many others. Moreover, they are exposed to software technologies like GIS and CAD to aid in the design creation process.
Step 3: Undergo an Internship
In many landscape architecture undergraduate program, students are required to participate in an internship as part of a requirement for graduation. Such an internship can be in a landscape architecture company. Internships expose students to what it’s like to be a landscape architect in the real world. Students gain hands-on experience, sharpen their design and technical skills, learn how to interact with clients, master the art of working within a budget, and many more. After graduation, you can also decide to go for further internships.
Step 4: Obtain a professional license
Before you can practice or legally gain the title of a landscape architect, most states require that you earn a license. Prospective landscape architects must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), which is administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board.
To qualify for the exam, you need to have a bachelor’s degree. Other requirements depend on the state. For instance, you must have accumulated about one to four years of supervised work experience. Similarly, your state may require additional exams that cover local ecological zones and state laws.
Step 5: Consider an Advanced Education
While it’s not necessary, you should consider a master’s degree in landscape architecture. This not only helps to further your understanding of the subject area, but it also sets you up for better career enhancement; boosting your employability and earning potential.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, a master’s degree should take either one or two years. For those without a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, but meet the minimum requirement for entry, a master’s degree in landscape architecture will take two to three years to complete.
Step 6: Join a Professional Body
Joining a professional organization allows you to network with others in your field, and also establish your expertise. There are two popular organizations for landscape architects:
The American Society of Landscape Architect (ASLA): ASLA is committed to the educational development, as well as skillset broadening of her members. They provide the continuing education required for members to maintain their licensing requirements.
The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA): They help facilitate the interaction between professors of landscape architecture, practitioners, and students through regional meetings, annual conferences, and publications.
Earning Potential of Landscape Architects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for landscape architects was $69,360 in May 2019. The lowest 10% earned less than $42,320, while the highest 10 % earned more than $112,290.
We look forward to working with you on your next project. Contact us today for more details and information.