What is a Landscape Architect?

Landscape architects are the people that beautify the areas around public and private buildings. Golf courses, parks, and public gardens with beautiful flowers and stonework are the finished products of a talented landscape and garden architect. These artists create breathtaking outdoor places by using flowers, trees, stone, fountains, sidewalks, and pathways as well as other structures to complement each other.

People in this profession will create the layouts for popular arboretums and public walking trails. Whimsical, fun playgrounds are also designed by these outdoor architects.

Find your next career

Sokanu matches you to one of over 500 careers by analyzing your personality, interests, and needs in life. Take the free assessment now to see your top career recommendations!

What does a Landscape Architect do?

Landscape architects work with their clients to meet the end result the client would like to see for their plot of land. No matter how big or small the plot, landscape architects can turn a bland piece of earth into something marvelous.

Landscape architects are not the people who do the hard labor -- that work is completed by contractors -- but the architects do oversee the work to make sure it is all going according to plan. The job of the architect is to come up with the vision for the space and draw up the plans in explicit detail so they can be easily read and followed by other workers.

Landscape architects design the aesthetic layout of golf courses and shopping malls as well as other public places. They can also be hired privately to design the landscaping of homes and gardens. Landscape architects can also choose to work in the environmental field designing conservation lands, such as wetlands, and participating in historic restoration endeavors.

Though it is a large part of the job, landscape architecture isn’t all about the aesthetics. Architects must also take the environment into consideration, as well as the budget of the people they are designing the garden or landscaping for. There are federal, state, and other local regulations that apply to projects such as these, including permits for building that they must attain before starting a job. There is a lot of legwork that goes into planning before an architect can begin to make their vision a reality.

What does it take to be a Landscape Architect?

In order to become on of the true landscape architects, an architect-to-be must pass the LARE, the landscape architect registration examination. Individuals interested in taking this exam must have their degree from an accredited institute and have worked for a licensed architect for at least one to four years.

There are landscape architecture degrees. These degrees focus on biological sciences and horticulture to give students a deep knowledge of plant life as well as other necessary components for working with biological materials. Many bachelor’s degrees in this field can take as long as five years to finish. Prospective landscape architects spend a lot of time in the studio while getting their degrees. They also put a lot of focus into learning aspects of the design process and how to write up proper proposals.

Once the degree has been attained and the LARE has been passed, there may be more state examinations that applicants are required to take before state licensing can be complete. Some states also require that architects continue their education regularly to keep their licenses.

Some people continue their education in the field by getting a master’s degree that is accepted by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. Master’s degrees can take two to three years to finish, longer if the student’s bachelor’s degree is in a different field of study. Master’s programs may have a specific focus, or they may just be a good place for a student to complete a large professional design project or complete their master’s thesis.

What is the workplace of a Landscape Architect like?

The workplaces of landscape architects are definitely variable. Residential landscape architects would most often find their workplace to be on the land that is associated with the homes of the people who hire them. As residential landscape architects, professionals would design and propose lavish gardens or other aesthetically pleasing landscaping ideas to clients then attain the appropriate permits to have the work completed. Next, the architect would need to find contractors to carry out the plans until they are completed.

The workplaces of commercial landscape architects are a bit different. These architects are employed by businesses, schools, government, or other commercial groups to design the public or private grounds. Commercial landscape architects may design a federal- or state-funded arboretum or the landscaping in a parking lot of a large department store. They may also visit and plan where trees are placed along the side of a main street in a town’s historic district.

In the workplace, landscape architects will work alongside other professionals, including contractors, laborers, and other architects. They will spend quite a bit of their time at their drafting table drawing up the plans for their various projects.

How much does a Landscape Architect earn?

Most landscape architects earn an average base salary of $42,656 each year for entry-level work. Entry-level work salaries are earned by individuals who have had less than or equal to one year of work in the field. Landscaping architect managers who have had at least 7 years experience on the job earn an average base salary of over $99,000 per year. The longer landscape architects work and earn their place in the competitive world of architecture, the more they make. This job can be very lucrative for talented and industrious individuals.

Learn more about being a Landscape Architect